ISLAMABAD:(APS)January 12, 2017-The Senate was informed on Thursday that work is underway on 1660 kilometer highways projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) all over the country.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the House during question hour that seven of these projects will be completed by 2018 and one in 2019 and one in 2020.
To a question, the Minister said that presently 88 toll plazas are operational on National Highways and Motorways. He said that 57 of these are manually operated while 31 are electronic toll plazas.
Answering a question, Minister of State for Federal Education and Professional Training Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman told the House that currently training is being provided to youth in 38 CPEC relevant trades in 197 institutes across the country.
He said that Chinese language is being focused and Chinese language courses have been started in 28 universities.
Replying to a question, he said that under Prime Minister Youth Skill Development Programme 25,000 youth of the country was imparted training in different trades during the last year. He said 50,000 students are under training this year and the number will be enhanced 100,000 next year.
To a question, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi informed the House that the government has taken a number of steps for the welfare of the Overseas Pakistanis. He said that two hospitals are being constructed for Overseas Pakistanis in Mirpur and Dera Ghazi Khan. He said seven housing schemes have been completed and work is in progress on two schemes for the Overseas Pakistanis.
Answering a question, Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo informed the House that nine million rupees were allocated for 12 Public Sector Development Programme projects of the Ministry during the last year. He said out of these, eight billion rupees were utilized and the remaining amount was surrendered to the Finance Division.
To a question, Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan told the House that during the last year the demand of wheat in the country was 25 million tons while the production was 25.63 million tons. He said the government has increased regulatory duty on the import of wheat from ten to 60 percent during the last three years to discourage the import because wheat price is lower in some countries.
Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada told the House that Council of Common Interests was reconstituted on 25th June, 2013 and its eight meetings were held during the present government regime.
Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Syed Shibli Faraz regarding the alarming increase in local and foreign loans, Minister for Law Zahid Hamid told the House that loans are obtained to meet the financial deficit announced in the budget.
He said the present government has paid 12 billion dollars while the foreign exchange reserves stand at 24 billion dollars. He said the government’s loan programme shows a downward trajectory.
Responding to another calling attention notice moved by Chaudhry Tanvir Khan regarding open sale of Petroleum products without license especially of Petrol which is not only violation of rules but also a severe danger to the lives and properties of common people, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi informed the House that selling petroleum products without license from the OGRA is an illegal activity and is punishable under the law. He said if such activity is carried out anywhere OGRA takes notice of this and provinces are asked to take action against the culprits.
On a point of order raised by Mohsin Khan Leghari regarding the withdrawal of subsidy on fertilizers, Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said that the scheme was launched in 2016 at a cost of 27.96 billion rupees with equal share from the federation and the provinces.
He said the amount has been exhausted and the programme was closed on last Monday. He said the federal government is in consultation with the provinces for some new initiatives for the farmers and meeting in this regard will be held on next Monday.
The House will now meet on Friday morning at 10:30.