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Uplift plans to face no hurdles, says Aziz: Sabakzai Dam ground breaking

QUETTA, Jan 15: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said that the government will not tolerate any obstacle to the development process launched by Centre in the Balochistan province.

Speaking at a big gathering held in connection with the ground-breaking ceremony of the Sabakzai Dam in Zhob, some 320 kilometres north-west of here on Saturday, the prime minister said that the development process initiated by the federal government in Balochistan would never be stopped now.

He declared that all mega projects launched in the province would be completed at all costs in order to bring the province on a par with other developed areas of the country and to bring the sense of deprivation of the area people to an end.

Mr Aziz said though he couldn’t change 50 years’ history with reference to the Balochistan province but he could definite write and become part of the new history by developing this province which had been badly neglected in the past.

He said the mega development projects launched in the province would cost the government exchequer Rs131 billion which was 14 per cent of total amount allocated for different development projects of the country under the head of the Annual Development Programme (ADP).

“The future of Pakistan is linked with the development of Balochistan and the present government wants to bring changes in economic conditions of the people of Balochistan and to enhance their standard of living.”

Referring to unfortunate acts of terrorism being carried out by some ‘miscreants’ in the province, he said the government would deal with such elements sternly, who wanted to derail the development process in the province.

He said his government wanted to resolve all political issues through negotiations but regretted that some elements were out to undermine the dialogue process launched by the government with political parties.

Mr Aziz said despite all their attempts the dialogue process would be continued, as the government sincerely wanted to resolve all problems the province was faced with.

The prime minister said the Balochistan province was extremely rich in mineral resources, including oil and gas and it also had 750-km-long coastline. He said the local people could get maximum benefits by exploiting these resources.

He said a lot of jobs would be available for the local people with the completion of development projects launched in the province. Referring to the Gwadar Port project the prime minister said it would benefit the people of Gwadar and Balochistan.

“The Gwadar port is owned by Balochistan and it would remain in Balochistan,” he said, adding that with its development, the area would become the hub of trade and economic activities.

Referring to the Sabakzai dam project, the prime minister said over one billion rupees would be spent on the project and it would be completed in one year. He said the dam would boost agriculture production in the area and that would give a boost to economic activities in the area. He said a 20-km-long road would also be constructed from the Zhob city to the dam site.

He held out an assurance to the people hit by the dam that they would be handsomely compensated. He said the project would project would provide clean drinking water to the people and produce several tons of fish annually in addition to irrigating 6680 hectares of land in Zhob district.

Mr Aziz said out of Rs131 billion allocated for mega development projects of Balochistan, Rs40 billion were being spent to overcome water shortage in the province. He said that after the completion these projects the province would enter in a new era of progress and prosperity.

Referring to problems being faced by the province, the prime minister said the government had constituted a parliamentary committee headed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed to look into affairs of the province. It would listen to demands of the political parties and try to resolve them, he pledged.

The prime minister announced Rs10 million for the development of Zhob and directed Wapda authorities to provide electricity to the people living on both sides of the road leading to the Sabakzai dam.

Speaking on the occasion, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Mir Mohammad Yousuf regretted that the province had been neglected in all fields during the last 50 years by all former governments and that created a sense of deprivation in the people of the province besides keeping the province backward.

The chief minister demanded of the federal government that the province should be given maximum funds for its speedy development and to compensate for the past injustices the province had to undergo.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Liaquat Ali Jatoi said that all modern facilities would be provided to the people of Balochistan so that the province could be developed. Balochistan Assembly Speaker Jamal Shah Kakar and PML-Q General Secretary Shiekh Jaffar Khan Mandokhel also spoke on the occasion.

Wapda Chairman Tariq Hameed earlier briefed the prime minister of the dam and said it would cost the government Rs1.10 billion and would be completed next year.

The dam would have the capacity to store 32700-acres feet of water and it would be 35-metre high and 400 metre-long. He said 40-kilometre-long three canals would be constructed to provide water for irrigation purpose and the dam would also produce 81 tons of fish annually.

Source: The Dawn

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