Rs 17 billion development package to change fate of Sialkot: PM

LAHORE: October 28 – Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing during “Insaf Doctors Forum Convocation" to pay tribute to the health professionals at Aiwan-e-Iqbal. APP photo by Rana Imran
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APP DigitalSIALKOT, Dec 9 (APP):  Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that the mega development package worth Rs 17 billion encompassing water supply, sewerage system, solid waste schemes and parks would change the fate of Sialkot city.

Addressing a ceremony for distribution of cheques of business loans under Kamyab Jawan Program here, the prime minister congratulated Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar for launching development works city by city after thorough review of their needs.

The prime minister who also launched the first phase of the public welfare projects of the package including the groundbreaking of sewage system and water supply schemes costing Rs 9.5 billion, recreational park valuing Rs 300 million and latest machinery for solid waste management worth Rs 600 million.

The projects have been announced under Punjab Intermediate Cities Improvement Investment Program (PICIIP).

As per details, the projects comprise replacement of 260-kilometer stretch of water pipelines, installation of 15 new tubewells, seven filtration plants, five overhead reservoirs to be completed by 2022. The project would have the capacity to supply clean drinking water to around 322,000 people till 2044.

The prime minister said the people expected a lot from new government and it was also easy for them to dole out public money extravagantly just to win public applause.

But, the chief minister’s decision of launching need-based development scheme after proper review and planning was laudable.

He said the cities’ unplanned growth always created troubles for governments to provide amenities like water supply and sewerage.

In order to address the issue, the government had decided to design master plans of the cities to contain the haphazard growth which otherwise would eat up green areas to beget food insecurity for future generations.

He said the civic amenities like water supply and sewerage systems were essential to prevent water borne diseases and infections particularly among children.

He congratulated the Sialkot’s business community for launching a private airline after establishing the first private airport in the city.

The prime minister also performed ground breaking of Rs 14 billion project of Sialkot University of Applied Engineering and Technology in what he said would be applauded by the future generations.

He said due to the efforts by Dr Attaur Rehman, a university had already been made operational in Haripur and he was also making efforts for collaboration of the newly announced university with world’s renowned universities in Austria, Italy and China.

The prime minister, who earlier distributed cheques among the beneficiaries, believed that the nations always progressed on the basis of higher education and technical education institutions.

He said despite minimal support and previous government’s anti-industrialization policies, the Sialkot’s business community always acted vibrantly and made the city a hub of exports.

Contrary to the past, he said, the current government was fully backing the industrialists and also agreed to their demand for provision of 1000 acre land to develop an industrial estate for convergence of the scattered industrial units.

The prime minister said it would also make it easier for the government to provide amenities to the industries besides addressing the difficulties faced by the people by the industries operating in residential areas.

The proposed industrial estate would especially accommodate the SMEs which created most of the jobs. He also assured that the government would further enhance the volume of loans for the sector.

He especially appreciated the Bank of Punjab for supporting the government’s pro-poor initiatives of Kamyab Jawan Program as well as Naya Pakistan Housing Program.

He also announced establishment of a laborers colony in Sialkot under Naya Pakistan Housing Program to provide them house on easy installments.

Special Assistant to PM Usman Dar told the gathering that the government had allocated Rs 100 billion for Kamyab Jawan Program.

He said despite creating most of the jobs, the SME sector had access to only 6 to 7pc of finance; however under the Program, the SME sector would grow by getting easy loans.

He hoped that industries operating in Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat and others would help boost exports taking advantage of the program.

The SAPM congratulated those who qualified for the loans and encouraged others to work harder to meet purely apolitical and merit-based criteria.

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said after execution of Rs 17 billion development package, Sialkot would emerge as a developed city with improved infrastructure and facilities.

He said the summary for the technical university had been approved and project would start soon after the release of funds.

He hoped that the Sialkot Ring Road and 500-bed hospital would be completed soon and that during his next visit, the prime minister would also break ground for 500-bed mother and child hospital.

The chief minister said during COVID-19, the Punjab government gave Rs 56 billion package to traders and the cabinet also approved five cement plants in the recent meeting.

Following the prime minister’s vision, he said the whole of Punjab would be extended health insurance facility by 2021.

By Ishtiaq Rao

Ishtiaq Ahmed is a Sr. Reporter who reports on Prime Minister, President, Foreign Office, and special assignments. Backed by 20-year experience, he has written for local and foreign newspapers. Reach out at 03335293238/ [email protected]/ X: ishtiaqrao

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