ISLAMABAD: Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar announced Thursday that the government will spend Rs600 billion on development projects in nine districts of southern Balochistan in the next three years to improve the living standards of local communities.
Of this total, the federal government will provide Rs540 billion, while the rest will be spent by the Balochistan government. In a press conference here with Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz, Defense Production Minister Zubaida Jalal and Communications Minister Murad Saeed, he said the government would also involve the private sector in several development projects in the area.
Asad said the package was prepared under the special direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has a strong belief in uplifting a weaker segment of society. “The country’s historic package has been prepared with an integrated strategy to ensure that people from all walks of life benefit from this package,” he added.
The minister hopes that after completing this program, the poorest regions of the country will see prosperity and it will become a practical example of PM Imran Khan’s vision of Naya Pakistan.
In the past, according to him, the approach to allocating money for development projects was different and not integrated; But now “we have started a new system in which all sectors and ministries will be collectively involved,” he said.
For example, said Asad in South Balochistan, agriculture is the most important source of income for local residents who need water. He said the dam would be built to meet the water needs of the people in the area.
He said in the package the government will provide electricity to more than 57 percent of the area’s population and for that the off-grid electricity option will also be implemented to provide electricity to the population spread across the area, “he added.
Likewise, the government will build 16 new dams that will irrigate around 150,000 hectares of land. In addition he said about 640,000 children will be provided with distance education and they will be connected with teachers in big cities.
Under the Waseela Taleem program, 83,000 children will be provided with free education and the government will also pay an allowance of Rs1,500 and Rs2,000 to male and female parents each month.
Asad Umar emphasized that in the health sector, 200 puskesmas will be upgraded. Likewise, he said, 35,000 youth in the area will be provided with training to become freelancers. He informed that the area was suitable for cultivating olives and dates so that the government would establish one olive processing unit and three date palm processing units so that local farmers could add value to their products.
Under the Nashonuma Health program, the minister said pregnant women and newborns would be provided with the food they needed so that stunting problems could be prevented.
Likewise, under this program, billions of rupees will also be spent on road projects connecting the area with the rest of the country, he added. Answering the question, Asad Umar said, “Contrary to the past, we will not only identify development projects, but we will also build an integrated governance structure, which will ensure timely project implementation.
“In response to another question, he said first the government has announced a package for FATA before, then for Karachi and now announces a package for South Balochistan.
“After this, we will see North Balochistan, Sindh Interior and Gilgit-Baltistan so that Imran Khan’s vision to provide equal opportunities to all segments of society and regions in the country can be fulfilled,” he said.