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PAEC gets ultimatum over pending projects

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Tuesday directed the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to either complete five ongoing projects of nuclear fuel enrichment worth Rs 43.5 billion in the next four months or shut them down.

PHOTO: REUTERS These projects, which had been approved in 2007 barring one, have fallen at least six years behind their original completion periods. The decision to take these projects to a logical end was taken during a meeting of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), which was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar.The PAEC had sought an extension in the completion period of these schemes. The CDWP has extended the project completion date till June 2019, with the direction that these projects should be shut down if the work still remains unfinished.Furthermore, the planning and development ministry says the PAEC earlier failed to notify the CDWP of delays, and did not get their nod for extensions of project timelines.The total cost of the five schemes was Rs 43.5 billion, however, as of June 2018, the total spending remained at only Rs5 billion or 8.8 per cent.
Four out of the five schemes are located in Mianwali while the other one is based in Faisalabad. The physical progress on these schemes was only up to 15 per cent, according to the officials who attended the CDWP meeting.The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) had approved a chemical processing plant at a cost of Rs22.1 billion in the year 2007.
But till last fiscal year, total spending remained at only Rs 2 billion with only Rs20 million allocation for this fiscal year.A nuclear fuel enrichment plant was approved in January 2010 at a cost of Rs 14.3 billion. However, the total amount spent on the project remained at only Rs1.6 billion till the last financial year, with Rs 100 million allocated for this year.A seamless tube plant project was approved at a cost of Rs 2.7 billion, also in 2007, but the actual spending on the project stands at Rs 445 million, with Rs75 million allocation for this fiscal year. A fuel fabrication plant was approved at Rs 3.3 billion in 2007. The project, too, suffered from mismanagement, with the spending till last fiscal year standing at only Rs 554 million, with a Rs 400 million allocation for this fiscal year.A nuclear power fuel testing project was also approved in the same year at a cost of Rs 1.2 billion.
The spending on the project till last year was Rs 354 million, with an allocation of Rs75 million for this fiscal year.During the same meeting, the CDWP approved four projects worth Rs 806.2 million and referred two schemes costing Rs7.4 billion to Ecnec for final approval.
The CDWP deferred approval of yet another Kachhi Canal Project at a cost of Rs25.7 billion.The Ministry of Water Resources tabled a new PC-I of Kacchi Canal project after the government had earlier declined to further upward revise the original PC-I, whose cost had already jumped to Rs82 billion.Keeping in mind the technical aspects of the Kachhi Canal project, the federal planning minister constituted a committee for detailed review of the project, which will submit its report within 15 days, according to an official handout.
The water resource division presented another project ‘review of feasibility study and detailed design of Burj Aziz Khan Dam Project, Pishin Lora, costing Rs67.4 million’, which was approved in the meeting.The dam envisages a water reservoir of 23 millions of gallons per day (MGD) and the project will supply 21 MGD drinking water to Quetta city.The CDWP approved upgradation of existing facilities at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad at a cost of Rs200 million.It also approved construction of a hostel for female doctors at PIMS worth Rs222.1 million.The third project of procurement of MRI equipment for the hospital’s radiology department worth Rs316.7 million was also given approval in the meeting.A fourth project related to extension of intensive care department of mother and child healthcare worth Rs3.9 billion was also referred to ECNEC.In physical planning and housing sector, the CDWP referred the project of construction of four sewerage treatment plants and related sewerage system to treat the waste water falling into Korang river, Rawal Lake and their areas of Islamabad worth Rs3.5 billion to Ecnec.

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Pakistan lodges protest with India after security breach at New Delhi mission

Pakistan lodged a strong protest with India regarding safety and security of its High Commission and officials after protesters tried to enter the building in New Delhi, a press release by Foreign Office (FO) stated.
PHOTO: AFP Special Secretary (Asia Pacific) Imtiaz Ahmad summoned the Acting Indian High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to lodge a protest against the anti-Pakistan demonstration on February 18 during which protesters were allowed to reach and jolt the gate of the Pakistan House despite the presence of Indian security officials.
Indian allegations threat to regional peace, Janjua tells foreign envoysIt was underscored that despite a strong protest to the Indian government, acts of harassment targeting the Pakistan HC, Pakistan House, and the officers and officials of the HC and their families continued, including abusive calls to the countrys mission in New Delhi.The special secretary reiterated Pakistan’s demand to the government of India for a comprehensive, immediate investigation of this serious breach of security, taking foolproof measures for safety and security of the Islamabads mission and officials, and ensuring that such incidents do not happen again.
Pakistan recalls envoy from New Delhi amid Pulwama attack allegationsTensions between the neighbours have soared since last Thursday’s attack in which at least 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed.Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a nationally televised address, demanded India to give “actionable evidence” and that Pakistan would retaliate if attacked.

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Shisper glacier surge poses threat to Hunza residents

GILGIT: A surge in the Shisper glacier, located west of Hassanabad village in Hunza, is posing a bigger threat to residents with every passing day.
Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA) assistant director on Wednesday said, “The 1300 metre wide and 600 feet long glacier is fast moving towards villages housing locals.”The Shisper glacier has moved 1,750 metres towards the villages in the last three months,” the assistant director added. “Two power houses have closed owing to which 70% of Hunza’s population has been rendered without electricity,” he further said. A portion of an under-construction power house has also been affected by the glacier surge. The Shisper glacier has surged during the last six months and a huge supra-glacial lake has been formed which locals fear can burst or overflow causing extensive damage.GB disaster management issues alert after glacier surge in Hassanabad Shisper glacier, located west of Hassanabad village, has surged during the last six monthsLast week, the GBDMA directed residents of Hassanabad village to remain alert and cooperate with authorities in light of a potential threat by glacier surge.The residents of the village were directed to vacate their houses and move to higher altitudes if they hear a siren from a nearby FWO camp.

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