ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Monday approved eight development projects, most of them in the power sector, worth about Rs187 billion.

Presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the meeting also approved a Rs16.415bn transmission line project for a 1,320-megawatt power project at Hub whose capacity has already been reduced by half by the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB).

An official announcement said that Ecnec, the country’s highest project approval authority, okayed a project to evacuate power from the imported coal-based power plant at Hub with a total cost of Rs16.415bn, including foreign exchange component (FEC) of Rs7.876bn. The finance minister, however, directed that the power evacuation project should be started after achieving financial close of the power plant.

The project approved on Monday entailed laying of a 220-kilomtere, 500-kilovalt double circuit transmission line from Hub power plant to 500kV Matiari switching station, and extension at the switching station with two line bays with shunt reactors. The project will be financed through international financial institutions.

A related project included switching convertor stations for 500kV high-voltage alternate current (HVAC) transmission lines for interconnection of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) with HVAC system at Matiari and Lahore.

The project, to be implemented in two years, will result in interconnection of HVDC with HVAC system for facilitating the dispersal of power from the proposed 4,000MW power plants in the southern part of the country.

The meeting also approved a project for construction of 220kV Mirpur Khas substation along with associated transmission lines at a rationalised total cost of Rs3.857bn, including FEC of Rs1.855bn from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The project will complete in two years and enable meeting the growing power demand of areas including Mirpur Khas, Mir Wah Gorchani, Sultanabad, Kandiari, Sanghar, Shahpur Chakar, Jam Nawaz, Tando Jam, Samaro and Tando Allahyar under the jurisdiction of Hyderabad Electric Supply Company.

The project is expected to improve voltage reliability, system reliability of network, reduction in the loading of power transformers, and the overall efficiency and stability of the power system in Sindh.

Ecnec also approved 220kV Dera Ismail Khan-to-Zhob double circuit transmission line project along with 220kV Zhob substation at a cost of Rs6.878bn, including FEC of Rs3.094bn, to be financed through the ADB.

The project, to be completed by June 2018, envisages installation of new substation at Zhob along with transmission line in order to reduce transmission losses and meet the growing power requirements of Qilla Saifullah, G.H. Zai, Musafir Pur, Zhob, Mekhtar and Duki under the jurisdiction of Quetta Electric Supply Company.

The meeting also approved expanded programme on immunisation in Punjab for prevention of nine vaccine preventable diseases. The immunisation/vaccination services are being delivered through fixed and outreach centres for routine immunisation as well as mobile vaccinators for house immunisation and special campaigns.

The programme was approved at a total cost of Rs22.263bn, including FEC of Rs3.816bn. The programme will support immunisation of children and pregnant mothers to reduce infant mortality rate and mother mortality rate and improve the health status of children in Punjab.

In the transport and communication sector, Ecnec approved the projects titled land acquisition, affected properties compensation and relocation of utilities for construction of Burhan-Hakla to Dera Ismail Khan motorway.

The project envisages acquisition of 7,496 acres of land for construction of 285km four-lane expressway with a 100-metre wide right of way (RoW), as part of the western route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Ecnec had already approved the project, in principle, at the rationalised scope and cost of Rs11. 973bn to honour joint declaration of an all-party conference (APC) held on May 28, 2015 on the western route.

The project for construction of motorway from Burhan to Hakla on M-1 to D.I. Khan was also approved at a cost of Rs110.2bn in line with the APC declaration. The meeting was informed that both the projects were part of the proposed route as verified after consultation between the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa committees on CPEC.

The meeting also approved the project for land acquisition, affected properties compensation and relocation of utilities for construction of a six-lane highway from Kala Shah Kaku to Lahore Ring Road (18.3 km) including bridge over river Ravi (Lahore Eastern Bypass) at a total rationalised cost of Rs10.486bn. The project envisages acquisition of 952 acres of land for construction of a dual carriageway with 100m RoW at 500m ahead of Mehmood Booti Junction including construction of a new bridge over River Ravi and other allied structures.