Balochistan to get Rs 8.9b for National Highway Projects, Senate panel told

Islamabad: Balochistan will receive 8.9 billion rupees for the ongoing National Highway Projects in the current financial year. This figure is more than four times higher as compared to last year’s allocation of two billion rupees for the same project.

However, security issues in many areas of Balochistan are haunting the development schemes notably the constructions of road networks.

Likewise, non-availability of funds is another major issue for the construction of National Highways in Balochistan. Balochistan has never received total allocated amount for development projects. These matters were discussed in a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Communication held here in Quetta.

The meeting was chaired by Senator Mr. Wali Muhammad Badini and also attended by Federal Minister for NHA Mr. Arbab Alamgir, Federal Secretary NHA, Chief Secretary Balochistan, Home Secretary Balochistan, Additional Inspector General of Police Balochistan Mr. Ghalib and others. The Committee criticized the transfer of 18 billion rupees allocated for highway projects in Balochistan to Multan and Larkana.

The chairman termed the transfer of funds from Balochistan to Multan and Larkana as injustice with Balochistan. The Minister and Secretary NHA assured the Committee that about 9 billion rupees will be given to Balochistan this year and that the ongoing construction works would soon be completed.

The Committee’s meeting mainly focused on the security issues that are creating hurdles for the construction of National Highways in Balochistan. Senator Ismaeel Buledi said there are anti-development forces in Balochistan like Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) that prevent development projects in the Province. However, by employing the local people in the construction works, the projects can be carried on, he said.

The Chief Secretary Balochistan suggested deployment of local people as private security personnel along with the state forces in the disturb areas in order to carry out the development works. This was however opposed by Senator Rahim Mandokhel who demanded only state machinery like the police, Frontier Corps etc should be used for security purposes.

The Home Secretary Balochistan said development projects in Balochistan can be successful if the locals are employed in the construction works. The local people are better acquainted with the specific dynamics of their respective areas. This also helps in smooth progress of the projects, he said. The Committee’s next meeting is expected in October.

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