Province to press for larger share in CPEC pie

Published: December 12, 2018
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan addressing a meeting of the provincial cabinet. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan addressing a meeting of the provincial cabinet. PHOTO: EXPRESS

QUETTA: The provincial cabinet has decided to adopt a strict approach with the Centre during the upcoming Joint Working Group (JWG) session in order to obtain the due rights of the province in the multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

The decision was taken during an 11-hour-long meeting of the cabinet with Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan in the chair.

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The JWG session will be held in Islamabad by the end of this month to take stock of the preparations for the next meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee of CPEC to be held in Beijing.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said, “The provincial government has decided to induct alternative development projects against Pat Feeder Water Scheme and Quetta Mass Transit Train Project.

“We will participate in the JCC on the condition that the federal government accepts our demands during the JWG session.

“Instead of high-cost and long-lingering development projects, the provincial government seeks to focus on short-term projects, including check dams, water treatment plants, Kuchlak-Spezand Railway Track and expressways.”

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The cabinet meeting also decided to present new social development projects for Balochistan under the CPEC.

The cabinet members stressed upon discussing construction of four-lane DI Khan-Zhob-Quetta Highway, four-lane Khuzdar-Baseema Highway, four-lane Nokundi-Mashkail-Panjgur-Mand-Turbat-Gwadar Highway, Loralai-Musakhel-Tonsa Highway, Makran Transmission Line and Burj-e-Aziz Dam in the JWG session.

In order to provide direct relief to the ordinary man in Balochistan, the cabinet termed establishment of mineral, fishing, industrial and food processing zones imperative for economic sustainability of the province.

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The cabinet members during the meeting unanimously blamed the previous government for giving Balochistan a raw deal in the CPEC project and held them responsible for not obtaining major development projects.

They resolved to make all efforts to gain a handsome share in the CPEC project for the people of the province. “Measures must be taken to obtain lucrative benefits from the geopolitical location of Balochistan,” they added.

The cabinet also approved a bill declaring initial education as mandatory, which would be implemented after the Balochistan Assembly’s approval.

The cabinet members claimed that the bill would discourage strikes in the education department and studies would continue without any pause.

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Under the programme, more than 1,800 non-functional primary schools would be functionalised and educational structure of 11,432 primary schools would be revamped.

It was also decided to appoint two teachers at all primary schools of Balochistan.

The cabinet also decided to allocate Rs15 million for the Balochistan Endowment Fund to help people living below the poverty line and also approved Phase 2 of the Chief Minister District Development Fund.

To control malnutrition among children, the cabinet approved imposition of nutrition emergency in Balochistan, directing the health department to prepare PC-I of the programme.

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The cabinet also approved amendments in the Balochistan Rules of Business 2012 and a new sub-rule has been added. It states: “There shall be special assistants to chief minister, to be appointed by him, for the performance of such duties and functions as may be specified from time to time. The chief minister shall also determine the terms and conditions of their appointments, provided that the number of special assistants shall not exceed eight.”

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