ISLAMABAD - Central Development Working Party (CDWP) approved Thursday 98 projects worth Rs 146 billion with major chunk for infrastructure development. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali presided over the meeting of CDWP held here at the Commissions auditorium. The meeting approved 51 development schemes with a total cost of Rs 103.4 billion for infrastructure including 16 projects worth Rs 40 billion in water sector, 20 projects worth Rs 32.2 billion in transport and communication sector and 10 development schemes with a total cost of Rs 29 billion. Giving details of the meeting, the Deputy Chairman told media persons that CDWP has given approval of 30 projects with a total cost of Rs 25.1 billion, which included 10 projects worth Rs 9 billion for governance, 5 projects worth Rs 8.2 billion for Information technology, 5 projects worth Rs 3.3 billion for higher education commission, 2 projects in health worth Rs 2.7 billion, and one project worth Rs 0.1 billion in education sector. The meeting also approved 17 development schemes in the production sector that could cost Rs 17.7 billion. The projects included 5 schemes for Industries and Commerce worth Rs 1.9 billion, 8 projects worth Rs 3.8 billion for Agriculture sector and 4 projects worth Rs 14.3 billion for sector, mentioned as others. According to the province-wise details, 22 projects worth Rs 36.1 billion for Punjab, 13 projects costing Rs 16.9 billion for Sindh, 7 projects at the cost of Rs 23.8 billion for NWFP and 10 projects worth Rs 4.3 billion in Balochistan, 4 projects costing Rs 1.6 billion for FATA, 2 projects worth Rs 12 billion AJK, 3 projects that amount to Rs 10.3 billion for Northern Areas. 37 other projects across the country worth Rs 41.2 billion were cleared by CDWP. Talking to reporters Deputy Chairman said that a Thar Coal project was also approved through which gas would be derived from coalmine. About higher number of projects, he said in democratic government the number of projects might be increased. However, he claimed that every project was passed after thorough examination by the experts in the Planning Commission. About through forward projects, he said that these projects would be included in the PSDP 2009-10. Out of 98 projects, each of the 23 projects was costing over Rs 500 million. The total cost of these projects is Rs 127.8 billion which will be placed before ECNCE for approval. Sector-wise distribution of these projects is; 51 projects in infrastructure Sector costing Rs 103.4 billion with Rs 56.3 billion foreign exchange component. To meet the emergent requirement of smooth traffic flow for launching of construction activities of Basha Dam, the CDWP cleared Diamer Basha Dam Project - Construction of By Pass Shatial - Thor Nullah - Existing Karakorum Highway (KKH) at cost of Rs 3.93 billion, said Deputy Chairmain Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali. Railways Sector project procurement and manufacture of 202 new design of passenger carriages at cost of Rs 16.9 billion was also recommended to ECNEC subject to rationalisation of cost and indigenisation to the extent possible. Of the 13 projects in Water Resources Sector, the major projects include Sukkar Barrage, Sabakzai Dam, New Khanki Barrage Project & Sindh on Farm Water Management Project costing Rs 37.4 billion. Two hydropower projects located in Northern areas costing Rs 6.4 billion have been cleared. ADB loan will the available up to 80 percent of the cost. About 122 schemes of hydropower projects have been identified in NA with the estimated capacity of 773 MW, which are under different stages of project preparation in the public & private sectors. Similarly 210 MW Power Projects costing Rs 9 billion were approved/recommended for the ECNEC located at NWFP. Establishment of Women University in Multan with a cost of Rs 1.7 billion also approved. A project Establishment of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Accident & Emergency, Trauma Centre and Ancillary Services Complex at Civil Hospital, Karachi costing Rs 2.5 billion was also recommended to ECNEC for approval. In the Road Sector 18 projects costing Rs 15.4 billion have been approved by CDWP mainly to provide modern and safe travel to the general public The important projects include Improvement Widening & B/T of Road from Takhta Baig to Mathani via Bara By Pass & Sheikhan (30-Kms) costing Rs 0.8 billion & Construction/Black Topping of Road from Hub to Dureji District Lasbella (Length 120 km) PM Package costing Rs 1 billion. The CDWP also recommended a project Environment-friendly public transport system for major urban centers of Pakistan at cost of Rs 5 billion to ECNEC. This project would be on PPP mode, deputy chairman maintained. Land Record Management Information System & Tax Administration reforms Programs with a total cost of Rs 12.8 billion (respectively Rs 6.3+6.5 billion) also recommended to ECNEC. In agriculture Sector, 8 projects approved/recommended at total cost of Rs 3.8 billion by CDWP. A pilot Project Poverty Reduction through Small Holders Livestock & Dairy Development with a total cost of Rs 2.5 billion also recommended to ECNEC. For the uplift of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Pyara Kashmir Program with a cost of Rs 11.1 billion has been recommended to ECNEC. Different projects involve different labour intensity, total direct employment likely to be generated by the said investment has been assessed approximately 500,000. This will improve the poverty situation. Firstly, those openly unemployed who will get the job and enter the earning stream, will do away with their abject poverty. Secondly, those who are less-than-optimally employed will have a chance to upgrade their employment status thereby improving their earning capacity. This will result in reducing the severity of poverty. A major new initiative on skills development has been initiated to increase productivity, and improve competitiveness, to reduce skills gap in the economy. The approved Training Institute in Kasur will be the first of such institute in each district in Pakistan (130), which under the Human Development Initiative will produce 250,000 skilled people per year. The CDWP also conceptually cleared the 8 projects.