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Socio-economic uplift: ‘PM committed Rs10b extra funding for Gilgit-Baltistan’

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has committed an additional Rs10 billion grant for Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), according to the president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) G-B chapter Hafiz Hafizur Rehman.

HunzaNews, June 15th, 2014.

“Yes! The Prime Minister has committed to providing an additional grant of Rs 10 billion for socio-economic development in G-B,” Rehman, who recently held a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz, told The Express Tribune on Saturday. In the meeting, the PML-N G-B chief sought additional funds to address the region’s socio-economic issues.

According to Rehman, this grant will be in addition to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) projects announced for the region in the budget for fiscal year 2014-15. “Rs2 billion [of this amount] will be released in the upcoming fiscal year, while the remaining amount will be disbursed over the next three years,” he said.

Rehman said that the G-B administration, in consultation with the PML-N’s G-B chapter, will prepare projects in such sectors as hydropower, health, skill development and small and medium enterprises to utilise the grant.

“The prime minister wants to bring socio-economic development in G-B at par with other parts of the country. He is taking a lot of interest in hydropower projects and infrastructure development,” the PML-N G-B chief said. He added that premier Nawaz will visit the region soon to make ‘further announcements’.

The government has made a total allocation of over Rs97 billion for various development and non-development projects in G-B under the PSDP for 2014-15.

The major chunk of PSDP funds for G-B will be spent on mega hydropower projects, such as the Diamer-Bhasha, Dasu and Bunji dams. These projects, however, will benefit the entire country in terms of energy and water resources, rather than just G-B.

Some local projects which will also be financed through PSDP during 2014-15. Rs9.23 billion has been earmarked for G-B under the Kashmir Affairs and G-B Division (KAGBD).

For the construction of a 26MW hydropower project at Shaghartang in Baltistan, Rs100 million has been earmarked. An allocation of Rs50 million has been made for another 30MW hydropower project in Ghowari on Shyoke River in Ganche district of Baltistan. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs7.79 billion and so far Rs40 million has been spent on the project.

The Express Tribune

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