SKARDU: The Gilgit -Baltistan Council Wednesday approved a budget with a total outlay of about Rs 2.4 billion for financial year 2017-18 for Gilgit-Baltistan.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is also the Chairman of the Council, chaired the meeting.
The Prime Minister in his remarks at the meeting said the Pakistan Muslim League – (Nawaz) government was committed to the development of the Gilgit -Baltistan and assured that the Federal government would provide all necessary resources in this regard.
He said PML-N was the only government in Pakistan that had the unique honour of not only initiating development projects, but also completing these on time.
He said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a project aimed at bringing about a sea change in the national economy. He said the CPEC not only provides road connectivity but would also provide opportunities for the local communities to flourish. He said now it was upto the leadership of the Gilgit -Baltistan to optimally benefit from the project.
Prime Minister Abbasi said the Northern Areas were unique as it’s people were loving, sincere and friendly.
He said democracy in the country was flourishing and now the second democratic government was in power and serving the masses. He said the people would bring into power only those who they seem fit, at the end of the term.
Prime Minister Abbasi also called for holding of regular meetings of the Gilgit Baltistan Council and said it served as a bridge between the Federal government and Gilgit-Baltistan.
He said former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was committed to the development of the area and had approved several socio-economic uplift projects.
He said the Federal government would continue funding of projects under its PSDP and urged the Council Members to find means for generating funds for local projects. He said the GB leadership had to take difficult decisions.
He said work on supply of the natural gas for Gilgit had already initiated and LNG’s supply for Skardu could also start once the road was improved.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Rs32 billion for the construction of Gilgit-Skardu Road had been allocated, which would tremendously benefit the people of the area.
Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Barjees Tahir earlier presented the G-B Council’s budget for the current fiscal year worth over Rs2 billion at the first meeting of the budget session of GB Council held in Islamabad last month.
He was appreciative of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his vision and thanked Prime Minister Abbasi for carrying forward his policies. He said Nawaz Sharif had particularly directed that the GB Council budgets should be passed locally and not in Islamabad.
Barjees Tahir giving details of the budget said Rs .2398.25 million will come from tax receipts, while the total expenditure was estimated at Rs 2199.067 million.
He said Rs 1474.016 million have been allocated for development projects while Rs 725.951 million for non-development projects.
The Minister-in-Charge, Gilgit-Baltistan Council also presented the Audit Report 2016-17 and Appropriation Accounts of GB Council for the Year 2015-16.
The meeting was attended by GB Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman and members of the Council.
Meanwhile, Chairman National Highway Authority Shahid Ashraf Tarar gave a detailed briefing to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi in Skardu today on the ongoing infrastructure projects including Jaglot-Skardu road in Gilgit Baltistan.
He said that 164 kilometers long Jaglot-Skardu road will be constructed at a cost of thirty one billion rupees in three years time.
The Chairman said that the FWO is carrying out construction work on the road on the built, operate and transfer basis.
Later, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated Baltistan University in Skardu.
Executive Director of Higher Education Commission gave briefing to the Prime Minister on the university.
The university will enroll two thousand students for higher education.
The Prime Minister was briefed that Karakoram University Campus has been upgraded to Baltistan University.
Gilgit-Baltistan Government has allocated 1500 kanals of land for the university which would be set up at a cost of 1.77 billion rupees.
A medical college would also be opened under the University. (APP & Radio Pakistan)