Tarbela extension to add 1410 MW to grid

ISLAMABAD (APP): The Tarbela Hydel Power Station will become largest powering generation facility in the country having accumulative capacity of 6298 MW with addition of 5th Extension project. Official sources told APP here that the existing installed capacity of Tarbela Hydel Power Station stood at 3478 while 1410 MW was being added with 4th Extension project. The first unit of 4th Extension project having 470 MW capacity has already been started generation and remaining two units would shortly be added. The ECNEC has already approved the PC 1 of the project while the World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have partnered to provide US$690 million for the completion of the project. The World Bank and AIIB are providing $390 million and $ 300 million respectively. The project is estimated to cost $823.5 million and remaining would be contributed by Wapda the National Transmission and Dispatch Company. As per details of the project, the existing Tunnel No. 5 of the Tarbela Dam will be converted into power tunnel without affecting the irrigation release capabilities. As many as three units with generation capacity of 470 MW each will be installed to generate 1410 MW electricity during summer season. It is a low-risk and high-reward project aimed at providing more than 1.8 billion units of the lost-cost hydel electricity to the national grid per annum. The project's Financial Internal Rate of Return (FIRR) has been estimated at 13.5 percent.

32,000 farmers submit pleas for gunny bags

MULTAN (APP): As many as 32,000 farmers submitted applications for gunny bags during the current wheat procurement drive, said district food controller Muhammad Sufian. Talking to APP, district food controller Muhammad Sufian said the department had received 25,000 applications during last year. However, applications are being processed for issuing gunny bags, he said. Sufian said the food department would purchase 227,000 ton wheat from growers. When questioned about the expected yield of wheat in the district, he said that expected wheat yield was estimated over 600,000 ton. The Food department used to purchase nearly one third of the total produce, he added. Responding to another question, he said the number of wheat growers who intend to sell their produce to the food department had increased due to government policy of issuing gunny bags to those farmers who possess 10 acres of land. In past, gunny bags were issued to farmers who possessed 20 acres of land, he observed. About storage of wheat, he informed that the department had completed all arrangements for storage of golden grains. He informed that the department had over 3.2 ton wheat in stock.

3.8m registered in BISP poverty resurvey

ISLAMABAD (APP): Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has registered 3.8 million household in pilot phase of poverty resurvey being conducted in 16 districts of the country started in June 2016 from Harripur. The pilot project districts included Haripur, Bahawalpur (Punjab), Nasirabad and Sukkur (Sindh) where desk approach was introduced while in other 12 districts Mirpur (Azad Jammu and Kashmir), Charsadda, LakkiMarwat, Chakwal, Layyah, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur (Punjab), Jacobabad, Sukkur, Thatta (Sindh), Gilgit (Gilgit Baltistan), Qila Saifullah, Kech, Nasirabad (Balochistan) and Mohammand Agency (FATA) the data was being compiled through door to door approach. BISP has adopted CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviews) instead of (Paper Assisted Personal Interviews) PAPI technique this time to overcome the inclusion and exclusion errors, an official of BISP told APP. For verification of the authenticity, operation review firms are being procured through a competitive and transparent process, he informed. Currently 5.4 million beneficiaries are registered with the BISP while the area wise figures show that 2.057 million beneficiaries are registered in Punjab followed by 1.94 million in Sindh, 1.16 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 0.24 in Balochistan. Around 420 offices of BISP are established around the country in which more than 2000 employees are rendering services while the annual budget of the program is Rs. 121 billion. The program is being run with the assistance of the World Bank, DFID and Asian Development Bank while few developing countries of Asia and Africa have shown interest in the model of this social service provider program.

Package demanded for agri sector

ISLAMABAD (APP): Terming the agriculture as the backbone of the economy, Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders (ICST) Sunday demanded purposeful relaxations for this sector in the upcoming budget to strengthening it. "The agricultural sector should be given a package aimed at improving lives of millions of farmers and improving the output which is not impressive," said ICST Patron, Shahid Rasheed Butt in a statement issued here. The proposals of different stakeholders should be taken seriously to improve the agriculture sector which has been the major source of income for the majority of the population, he added. Butt said that developed countries continue to pay subsidies to farmers to the tune of billions of dollars, adding the government should abolish sales tax on import of agricultural machinery and introduce reduced as well as uniform sales tax on all types of fertilizers. Dependence on groundwater has increased therefore power tariff for agricultural tube wells should be reduced to propel production. Banks should ease requirements for agricultural loans, he said. and urged government to continue extending and improving various subsidies and incentives already given to the farmers.