Planning Minister Asad Umar has ordered for the early finalisation of the draft strategy for the Command Area Development (CAD) in southern Balochistan with focus on generating employment opportunities for the local people.
Chairing a meeting to review progress on the CAD draft strategy prepared by the Ministry of Water and Resources, the minister stressed that the ministry should focus on the “human development aspect” in the draft strategy.
Umar directed the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, the planning and development secretary and the chief secretary of Balochistan to finalise the draft strategy before submitting it to the prime minister for final approval.
The Water and Resources secretary briefed the minister about the draft strategy. The minister pointed out that the human development aspect, which was the most important element, had not been addressed properly in the water ministry’s draft strategy.
“Our top priority should be to generate the employment opportunities for the local people of Balochistan, particularly the locals of southern Balochistan through these water projects,” Umar said. “The Water and Power Ministry should focus on the missing human development aspect,” he added.
“All the relevant stakeholders are directed to sit together to finalise the draft strategy before the final approval from the prime minister,” the minister continued. “These projects will have a positive impact on the lives of local people which must be the top priority.”
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The water and power secretary informed the minister that 40 water-related projects, funded by the federal government, were being executed in Balochistan at an estimated cost of Rs273 billion, while Rs29 billion had been allocated in 2021-22 budget.
The secretary further said that out of those 40 projects, 10 water projects had been completed at a cost of Rs2 billion, a few projects were under way, while new projects would be initiated, adding that these projects would be completed in five years.
He proposed to engage the private sector so that the local farmers could be assisted through these projects. He also proposed to constitute a unit to monitor and facilitate the speedy implementation of CAD under the draft strategy.