ISLAMABAD  - The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) on Thursday approved six projects worth of Rs4 billion and cleared other six projects worth of Rs 912 billion for approval of Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).

The CDWP meeting, which was held under the chairmanship of Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reforms, considered 15 development projects of agriculture and food, education, energy, higher education and water resources sectors. CDWP approved 06 projects coasting Rs 4 billion while 06 others worth Rs 912 billion were approved for the ECNEC’s consideration. However, three projects were deferred for the next CDWP.

In agriculture & food sector, CDWP approved one project of application of satellite remote sensing and GIS technology for crop forecasting and estimation worth Rs. 917 million, which will help in scientific crop forecasting. In education sector, a project for the capacity building of elementary teachers training institutes in Punjab, costing Rs 3 billion was also approved by CDWP under Canadian debt swap arrangement. In energy sector, CDWP approved 03 projects including Dasu Hydropower Project costing Rs. 735 billion with capacity of 4300MW, Jamshoro 2x600MW Supercritical Coal Fired Power Project costing Rs 196.9 billion with direction to further rationalise the cost, project for the evacuation of power from 1000MW Quad-e-Azam Solar Park at Lal-Suhanra costing Rs. 4 billion. CDWP also gave concept approval of Terbala 5th Extension Hydropower Project.

In higher education sector, CDWP approved 05 projects, which included a project for the capacity building and up-gradation of selected departments at University of the Punjab worth Rs. 879 million with provision for new library and modern laboratories, a project for the establishment of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Campus at Abbottabad costing Rs. 873 million, a project for the establishment of Pak-Korea Capacity Building Centre for Agriculture and Livestock Technology at Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindin worth Rs. 395 million, construction of UET, Lahore campus at Narowal worth Rs 930 million, and a project for the establishment of FM Radio Station in the Department of Media and Journalism in University of Balochistan, Quetta worth Rs. 72 million. In water resources, 02 projects including Kaitu Weir Irrigation & Power in North Waziristan Agency worth Rs 14 billion, and Indus 21 Water Sector Capacity Building and Advisory Services Project worth Rs 7.6 billion, subject to clear identification of tangible outcomes were approved by CDWP.

CDWP also gave concept approval for the establishment of Seerat Chairs one in each province. Chairman CDWP, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal directed the authorities concerned to ensure that Seerat Chairs should focus on challenges being faced in modern societies in areas of leadership and governance, creating harmonious and tolerant communities, human rights and justice, business and commerce, education and knowledge, sustainable development, and social justice & welfare. The researchers should focus on drawing practical lessons from the life of Holy Prophet (SAWW), to offer solutions to our problems of illiteracy, disease, extremism, poverty, environmental degradation etc. and project proper image of Islam internationally.

Prof. Ahsan Iqbal directed that leading universities in the country should establish their own consultancy firms by employing the services of their faculty and students.

It would not only increase competition among consultancy services in the market but would also help in resource generation for the universities and improve academia and industry link. He also directed HEC authorities to develop PC1 for the establishment of Skills University in Islamabad with the consultation of Ministry of Science and Technology by using NISTE infrastructure to give boost to technical skill based education and training.