Prime Minister Imran Khan has recently announced the historic five-year development package worth Rs370 billion for Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). Addressing participants at a ceremony in Gilgit, the PM said that for the first time a huge amount has been allocated for the development of this picturesque and strategically located region. He maintained that the uplift package includes hydel power generation and transmission projects, connectivity projects for tourism, youth skill and scholarship program, up-gradation of the health system and water and sanitation schemes. As per details, the package includes PSDP funding of Rs275 billion in three years with an average Rs55 billion per year. At least 18 new PSDP projects are included in the package with the cost of Rs130 billion whereas 11 ongoing projects of PSDP of Rs31.2 billion are also included in the package. Besides, at least 2,114 ongoing projects of Annual Development Programme (ADP) of GB worth Rs113 billion are also included in the development package. The historic programme also includes 11 non-PSDP projects worth Rs4.81 billion. Apart from the government-funded projects under this plan, at least 12 projects worth Rs90.1 billion would be completed through private investment (PPP model).
As per documents, Rs5.3 billion have been allocated for Shagarthang-Gorikot road which would connect Baltistan region with Diamer district. Rs3.2 billion would be spent on Darel-Tangir Expressway and Rs5 billion are allocated for Shigar-Paiu road. Rs17 billion have been approved for Astore Valley road from Thalichi to Shounter. Another major road under the package is Shara-e-Nagar at the cost of Rs4.5 billion.
Apart from these projects two mega transport projects of regional connectivity, including Gilgit-Shandur (Rs50 billion) and Shounter Tunnel project, have also been included in the package to be funded under the umbrella of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Similarly the projects included in the Rs140 billion allocation for clean energy include Attabad Hydro project (50 MW), Sadpara power project (17.4 MW), Ghowari Power project (30 MW), KIU Power Project (100 MW), Sharkoi Project (15 MW), Golodas Ghizer project (15 MW), HPP Juglot (10 MW, Tormik project (10 MW), HPP Hunza project (2.8 MW) and Regional Grid Phase-II.
In the tourism sector, Rs6 billion would be spent on construction of hotel management and hospitality management institute in Skardu, adventure sports/rock climbing and mountaineering institute in Hunza, trail and tracks in 10 districts, ecotourism facilities, tourism projects in PPP mode and greater water supply scheme for Hunza.
Under the package an integrated water supply scheme has also been approved for Gilgit city at the cost of Rs4 billion. Similarly, a sanitation and sewerage project would be completed at the cost of Rs4.5 billion in Skardu city. Rs1 billion have been fixed for women development and poverty alleviation programme.
Besides Rs550 million are allocated for IT-related training programs and establishment of centers. Through the uplift package, LPG air mix plants would be installed in Skardu, Chilas and Hunza at the cost of Rs500 million. To have oil storage in the area a bulk oil depot at Skardu would also be established at the cost of Rs200 million.
Rs3.56 billion have been fixed for five different projects related to disaster management in GB. In the health sector some government hospitals would be upgraded and medical colleges, as announced earlier, would also be funded through the package.