76 % work on Kachhi Canal completed, NA told

Islamabad: The National Assembly was informed Friday that Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony spent over 337 million rupees for the development and 137.24 million rupees on financial assistance of minorities in Pakistan during the last five years.

Minister for Religious Sardar Muhammad Yusuf told the House during question hour that twenty million rupees were given to ten minorities MNAs in October 2011 as special grants while over 13.33 million rupees were given as special grants to Christian schools‚ churches and for the distribution of Christmas food packages in 2011.

He said that there is no shortage of rooms for visitors at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib. He said the ETP Board has provided state of art facilities to the visiting Sikh Yatrees. He said a residential block consisting 500 rooms has been constructed in the premises of Gurdwara Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib. He said there is proposal under consideration for the construction of 30 additional rooms at Nankana Sahib.

To a question‚ Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali told the House that Federal Government has allocated 103‚715.387 million rupees funds for Sindh and Balochistan provinces for Water and Irrigation Projects during the last five years.

He said in Balochistan 76 percent work has been completed on Kachhi Canal while 83 percent work on RBOD-3 has also been completed which will meet the water requirements of the province.

Regarding Naulang‚ the Minister of State informed it will produce 4.4 MW electricity while the water will not be wasted but WAPDA is working to develop a water recycling system. He said this water will be used for irrigation and drinking purposes.

Abid Sher Ali said there is a Russian proposal regarding purchase of 5000 MW electricity and government will consider every project to include cheap electricity in the system for the development of country. He said government is also committed to convert Thermal Power Plants into coal based plants‚ which will produce cheap electricity. He said this conversion will be completed in two and half years. He said cost of electricity produce through a coal power plant will be ten to eleven rupees per unit whereas thermal power plants are producing each unit on 21 to 22 rupees.

He said government will not take any step which may harm the national harmony. He said Kalabagh Dam is a national project which requires consensus.

Meanwhile, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhary Muhammad Birjees Tahir making a policy statement in the National Assembly said the cross-border firing on Pak-Afghan border is a big blow to Pakistan’s efforts for the establishment of peace in Afghanistan.

He said five Pakistani citizens lost their lives and another was injured due to the unprovoked and unnecessary firing. He said Pakistan has demanded an inquiry of this incident from the Kabul authorities. He said Pakistan has also registered strong protest through Foreign Office and its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan.

The Minister demanded prompt action from Afghanistan side on the incident. Replying to a call attention notice moved by Sher Akbar Khan and others regarding non-existence of 220 KV Grid Station in Malakand Division resulting load-shedding in Districts Buner‚ Swat‚ Upper Dir‚ Lower Dir and Bajaur Agency‚ Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali told the House that there are transmission constraints in the province. He said funds have been allocated for the resolution of this issue.

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