ISLAMABAD - The government on Wednesday has approved to increase the water usage charges (WUC) to Rs1.10 per unit electricity for Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) from Rs 0.15 per unit to bring it at par with other province.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of Cabinet, which was chaired by Finance Minister Asad Umar, has approved the summary for water use charges for AJK on par with Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) and Punjab.

The Committee was briefed by the Water Resource Division on the proposed arrangement for settling the electricity tariff and water usage charges issues with AJK.

Secretary Water Resource Division stated that a detailed arrangement covering all aspects of the issue had been worked out in consultation with the government of AJK, under the new arrangement AJK would be given a dispensation similar to the Provinces.

ECC approves Rs1795m grant for North Waziristan IDPs

The AJK government was demanding WUC on Mangla dam at the rate of Rs 1.10 per unit at par with Punjab and KP on Tarbella Dam and Ghazi Brotha Hydel Power Project respectively.

Currently, WUC is being paid by Wapda at the rate of 15 paisa per unit on Mangla Dam, which is not acceptable to AJK government and they have linked payment of the outstanding power sector bills with increase in WUC.

It was pointed out that electricity is being provided to AJK at subsidized rate and was suggested that bulk tariff may be charged on supply of electricity to AJK like K-Electric.

The ECC noted that the proposed arrangement, where AJK would set up its own DISCO and would receive Water Usage Charges at the enhanced rate of Rs.1.10/kwh was based on the principle of equality and endorsed the same.

The ECC has also approved Supplementary Grant amounting to Rs.1795 million, for Temporarily Dislocated Persons from North Waziristan in the wake of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

In order to meet the expenses of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), the Committee approved Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs.202.637 million for CADD and Rs.12.409 million for Pakistan Chairs Abroad.

Similarly, it approved Supplementary Grant of Rs.156.327 million for Ministry of Health Services, Regulation and Coordination and Rs.41.671 million for Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development. It also approved the demand of Cabinet Division to release Technical Supplementary Grant of Rs.14,844,256/- million.

The Committee was briefed by Ministry of Science & Technology on the status of operationalisation of Pakistan Hilal Authority. The Committee directed that the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, should review the matter of placement of the Authority under the most relevant Ministry.

Ministry of National Food Security & Research briefed the Committee on the implementation status of decision taken by the Committee last month for improvement of cotton crop in the country.

The Committee also accorded approval to the proposal of Ministry of National Food Security and Research to extend the export period of surplus Wheat from PASSCO’s stock.

The Committee also approved the proposal of Ministry of Industries and Production to allocate 66 MMFCD Additional Mari Deep Gas to PPIB for power generation purposes.