Dar no more ECC chief as PM takes over


Zahid Chaudhery


Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday removed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar from his post as chairman of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet.
According to a notification the newly elected Prime Minister will himself chair the ECC.
Dar will however remain a member of the committee and will chair meetings of the ECC in case of Abbasi’s absence.
Five ministries, railways, power, communications, statistics, water resources, and privatization have also been added to the economic committee.
Dar’s removal from the chairmanship of the ECC is one of the major decisions taken by Abbasi after being sworn in as prime minister on August 1.
The news comes as the National Accountability Bureau prepares to file a reference against Dar for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income in accordance with the Supreme Court’s verdict that disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Friday directed the Ministry of Water Resources to focus on all the ongoing development projects and ensure their timely completion.
Chairing a meeting on WAPDA affairs here at the PM Office, he said the new Ministry of Water Resources had been constituted for better resolution of the issues.
He said the matter of water security was neglected in the past while the entire focus was on power generation.
He said the present government had taken lead to initiate mega water projects as water was the backbone of economy.
“We must make Ministry of Water Resources productive and renew our efforts in this regard,” the prime minister said.
Chairman WAPDA Lt General (Retd) Muzammil Hussain gave an overview and briefed the prime minister on the ongoing water and power projects conceived as well as executed under the present government under top experts besides informing him about the future projects with focus on water resource management.
It was pointed that all the strategic projects conceived by the present government were on targets in terms of timelines.
The meeting was informed that among the ongoing projects, Kacchi Canal was ready for inauguration during the current month. The canal would irrigate 72,000 acres of land in Dera Bugti.
The project was delayed in terms of time and cost over a period of fifteen years. The present government took the lead and removed all the bottlenecks to complete the project,WAPDA chairman said.
The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the project and said the entire demography of Dera Bugti and other regions of Balochistan would change for good once the virgin lands to be irrigated.
WAPDA chairman also briefed the meeting on 969 Mws Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project and said the first unit of NJHPP would be commissioned on schedule in February 2018, second in March, 2018 and the third and 4th units would be ready for inauguration in April 2018.
Regarding 1,410 MW Tarbela IV Extension, the chairman informed that its first unit would be ready for generation by February 2018, second by April, 2018 and the third by May,2018.
The meeting was also briefed on the projects in the pipelines including Dasu Hydropower project and Diamer Basha Dam project in terms of preliminary works. The prime minister directed to control in cost escalation in the projects without compromising quality of work.

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