ISLAMABAD- The government Thursday approved 51 development schemes with a total cost of Rs 262.4 billion including land acquisition project for multi-billion dollars Diamer Basha Dam. Central Development Working Party in its maiden meeting of fiscal year 2008-09, approved/recommended 51 projects worth Rs 262.4 billion. Of the total, 22 schemes will cost above Rs 500 million, which is beyond the CDWP mandate, thus recommended to Executive Committee of National Economic Council for final approval. The government would get a foreign loan of Rs 91.2 billion to fill the financing gap for these projects. The net new approved schemes remained at 46, as five were those projects whose cost swelled with a passage of time due to various factors. The cost of these projects increased by Rs 10 billion. The CDWP, chaired by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Salman Faruqi, cleared Diamer Bash Dam land acquisition and resettlement scheme with a cost of Rs 116 billion. The dam would be built on Indus River and after completion will have an annual 6.4 million acres feet surface water storage capacity, which would supplement irrigation supplies during low flow periods. It will also harness renewable source of clean and cheap energy through installed capacity of 4500 megawatts and reduce dependence on thermal power, hence, saving foreign exchange. The total estimated cost of the project is over US $ 8 billion and it would pay back its cost in ten years. A Planning Commission official said 99 per cent land of the mega dam is located in Northern Areas and only one per cent power area would be in North West Frontier Province. "Today the government has initiated the single largest project of Pakistan in terms of cost", said the PC spokesman Asif Sheikh in a press conference. The project will be completed without foreign assistance. The funding of the project has remained a major concern, as World Bank has reportedly refused to provide money due to strong Indian lobby on its Board of Directors. The meeting also nodded Karachi Circular Railways project, which would cost the kitty Rs 52.4 billion and be completed in five years. Asif Sheikh said the CDWP cleared the modern commuter system on condition that any operational loss would be borne by the Provincial government, as the project was still at planning stage. Of the total 51, as many as 32 ventures of Rs 238 billion are in infrastructure sector, with a foreign exchange component of Rs 81.3 billion. Remaining 19 schemes are for social sector worth Rs 24.4 billion. As many as 18 projects worth Rs 11.7 billion are positioned in the Punjab. There are 14 projects, which have been sanctioned under Multan Package of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. The total cost of these projects is Rs 4.2 billion, of which Rs 500 million will be provided by the Punjab Government. The federal government also allowed Punjab to build Cherah Dam with a cost of Rs 5.3 billion. The federal government has imposed a condition that no provincial government could approve a project, which has a value more than Rs 5 billion. Sindh got six schemes worth Rs 94.4 billion and eight ventures fell into Balochistan, costing Rs 9.1 billion. The CDWP also okayed two schemes of NWFP that would cost Rs 600 million. There will be 10 projects situated all over the country, costing Rs 132 billion. The government approved a first scheme of its kind under Public Private Partnership mode. The project, Establishment of Inland Container, Multan will get 80 per cent financing from private sector and Railways Division would only give land. In social sector, the CDWP sanctioned an important project, Enhanced HIV/AIDS Programme worth Rs 7.95 billion. A project of Raising of Balochistan Constabulary was also cleared with a cost of Rs 5.95 billion.