Village electrification criteria softened

The government has relaxed village electrification criteria of the Water and Power Ministry to allow four compact houses within an area of 400 feet, official sources told Business Recorder.

The global community has adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which cover a broad range of sustainable development issues in order to achieve these goals. Wazeer-e-Azam Qaumi Taraqqiati Program is being launched.

The sources said, a summary on the subject was approved in principle by the Cabinet in its meeting on August 31, 2016.

The cabinet decided to seek input from stakeholders for fine tuning of the programme. In this connection the Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs was entrusted with the task of holding consultation with the members of the Cabinet and Parliamentarians.

According to sources, after extensive consultations, certain modifications were submitted to the Prime Minister who directed that the following modifications/ proposals should be placed before the cabinet for discussion:

(i) village electrification criteria of the Ministry of Water and Power may be relaxed and electrification of four compact houses within an area of 400 feet may be allowed; (ii) the provincial steering committee may be dispensed with; and (iii) federal steering committee may also be allowed to review the progress of schemes under Pak MDGs Community Development Program 2014-16.

The sources said during the previous cabinet meeting it was pointed out that there was a need to simplify the procedure for identification and approval of the schemes included in the program.

In addition the channels of funding and the composition also need to be streamlined for the ease of execution. It was apprehended that the program will not succeed without the involvement and ownership of provinces.

The provincial departments may not fully cooperate in the implementation of the program components without active involvement of the provinces.

The recurring cost of different schemes would have to be borne by the provinces. Many of the infrastructure projects proposed to be launched under the program were in the provincial domain and it would be appropriate to launch them in consultation with the provinces.

The approach to the execution of the program would be different for participating and non-participating provinces.

A mechanism for the identification of schemes was deliberated upon in great detail and different proposals were floated.

It was suggested that the program may be executed at the level of DCOs/ DCs rather than Commissioners. It was also proposed that representatives of the local government may be made part of committees proposed for implementation of the program to ensure local ownership.

It was also proposed that the minimum threshold of Rs 2.5 million was quite high and may be reduced to cater for small schemes for rehabilitative nature in the energy sector. -Business Recorder