Posted on 07 October 2011.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Friday that the foundation stone of Diamer-Bhasha Dam will be laid on October 18.
Speaking during the National Assembly session on Friday, Gilani said the dam was a mega project and that the government had brought it in the Council of Common Interest (CCI) to take the approval of all stakeholders so that it could not be politicised like Kalabagh dam.
He said the CCI meeting was attended by all four chief ministers and the project had been approved unanimously.
Gilani, while responding to point of orders in the National Assembly, recalled that the Lowari Tunnel project had been launched during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s government.
The prime minister said that the project require rupees two billion for completion, adding that the amount would soon be provided to complete the remaining work on the project.
He said all megaprojects, including Diamir Bhasha Dam, Thar coal, Lowari Tunnel, Neelum-Jehlum, Mangla uprising and others, would be completed by the government.
Gilgit-Baltistan Council approves budget
Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Council, met at the Prime Minister House today under the leadership of Gilani in his capacity as Chairman, unanimously approved the budget of GB Council for the period of 2011-2012.
According to the budget documents the budget estimates consist of Rs482.665 million for the Financial Year 2011-12, non-tax revenues are Rs280 million, capital receipts are Rs0.2 million while development expenditures are Rs180 million and non-development expenditures are Rs302.665 million taking total expenditure to the extent of Rs482.665 million.
Earlier, Gilani administered oath to three Advisors to Chairman GB Council here today at a ceremony held at the PM House. The Advisors who took the oath are Professor Ghulam Hussain, Ibadat Ali, and Atta Ullah Khan Shahab.
Soon after the oath taking ceremony, he addressed the second session of GB Council and congratulated the advisors to the Chairman, GB Council, on taking oath of office. He hoped that the Advisors would discharge their responsibilities with complete sincerity.
“It is democracy only that resolves people’s age-old problems by addressing their grievances and accommodating their demands. The government of Pakistan People’s Party has done what the political party having two/thirds majority in parliament could not do,” he stated.
He further said that the political history of the region bore witness to the fact that all landmark developments that led to attainment of autonomy took place during the governments of Pakistan People’s Party. The first major reform in the form of Northern Areas Council Legal Framework Order 1974-75 was promulgated by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, implying introduction of major administrative, judicial and political changes.
Gilani said that it was during the government of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto that the Northern Areas Legal Framework Order 1994 was promulgated. The final culmination of the process came about when the present government issued GB (Empowerment & Self-Governance) Order 2009, giving people political, legislative and administrative autonomy in line with the manifesto of PPP, the PM stated.
He maintained that the GB Council was performing its responsibilities in an upbeat manner by providing complete institutional support to the Council to work out policies aimed at achieving welfare of people, adding that the GB Government was fully autonomous in running its affairs.
Gilani said that GB had vast potential in the areas of power generation, tourism, mines and mineral and other areas. The mega Hydro-power projects such as Diamer-Basha Dam were extremely vital to our energy and food security and its role in bringing prosperity to the people of the area hardly needs to be emphasized and announced that the present Government also planned to initiate work on Bunji Dam which is projected to have power generation capacity of 11000 MW.
He said that the overall size of ongoing ADP projects in GB (comprising 563 schemes) was about Rs52.3 billion. Projects worth Rs13.2 billion are being funded through Federal PSDP. For the current financial year an allocation of Rs6.076 billion has been made for GB Government over and above the PSDP allocation of Rs1.58 billion.
Those who attended the meeting included Pir Karam Ali Shah, Vice Chairman Gilgit Baltistan Council/Governor Gilgit Baltistan, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, Minister for Kashmir Affairs & Gilgit Baltistan, Syed Mehdi Shah, Chief Minister for Gilgit Baltistan, Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Minister for Science and Technology, Farah Naz Insphani, MNA/Member GB Council, Aftab Shahban Mirani, MNA/Member GB Council, Muhammad Tariq Tarar, MNA/Member GB Council, Sherry Rehman, MNA/Member GB Council, Engr Usman Khan Tarkai, MNA/Member GB Council, Prof Ghulam Hussain Saleem, Member GB Council, Muhammad Ibrahim, Member GB Council, Amjad Hussain, Member GB Council, Saeed Afzal, Member GB Council, Attaullah Khan, Member GB Council, Wazir Baig, Speaker, GB Legislative Assembly, Jamil Ahmed, Deputy Speaker GB Legislative Assembly, Muhammad Ali Akhtar, Minister for Finance Gilgit Baltistan and senior official of Gilgit Baltistan Council.