ISLAMABAD - The government is likely to finalize the multi-billion rupees Gilgit Baltistan (GB) development plan by the end of March, it is learnt reliably here. During the final week of March, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be briefed about the GB development plan and after his approval the development activities in the area will be started, official source told The Nation. The federal government is planning to announce a huge economic package for the development of Gilgit-Baltistan and for the purpose the Planning Ministry had constituted two technical working groups to finalise the integrated development plan for the region. In the light of the recommendations of the working groups, the government will announce integrated development plan worth billion of rupees for Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). A progress review meeting on the GB development plan under Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives Asad Umar in chair was held here. Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Khalid Khurshid, Secretary Ministry of KA& GB, Secretary Planning, Secretary Water & Power, Chairman NHA, CEO PPP Authority, Additional Chief Secretary GB, Additional Secretary Planning, and other senior officers from Ministries and Division attended the meeting. Afghanistan receives 500,000 vaccine doses via COVAX During the meeting the GB government has presented the idea of establishment of new international airport in GB. The establishment of a modern airport is pre-requisite for increasing tourists in the area, the official of the GB insisted. Development activities in area will be started after PM’s approval Additional Chief Secretary GB briefed the minister on the GB’s potential projects in the public sector, non-PSDP initiatives, as well as in the public-private partnership mode. The various priority sectors such as clean energy/hydropower, health, education & skill development, tourism, private sector development, agriculture, women development, social welfare and youth were discussed. The meeting was informed that all the provincial departments are in contact with relevant federal ministries/ divisions and PC-Is of the shortlisted schemes are being prepared by the respective departments. Opposition's caravans to arrive in Islamabad by March 30: PDM chief GB government placed special emphasis on clean energy to mitigate severe power crisis in the area while other priority sectors included tourism, gems and minerals, agricultural products, roads and communications and information technology. Asad Umar stated that GB power sector should have a regional grid of its own. He said that the aim in GB development package on the energy side is not only to produce energy but also to build the right institutional and regulatory framework and generation transmission distribution capacity as well. Asad Umar directed the Ministry of IT and PTA to finalize the auction of 3G and 4G licenses in GB on priority basis as for remote areas the importance of IT is much bigger than large cities of Pakistan. Generating economic activities in remote areas will only be possible through strong IT infrastructure in the future. He said that one of the underlining principles is to create maximum employment opportunities for the youth and people of GB. UN religious freedom expert blasts Swiss burka ban vote The planning minister directed P3 Authority to assist GB government in strengthening GB PPP Unit and help in the identification of private sector partners. He called on the BOI to hold roadshows in two or three different cities in Pakistan where the federal and provincial governments could jointly market available public-private opportunities to potential investors. Asad Umar also directed Mo PD&SI to devise a strategy for training and capacity building of GB officers and directed all the ministries/divisions to complete the feasibilities and submit the PC-Is to the CDWP so that activities on ground could start as early as possible.
The Nation, 09 Mar, 2021