CM KP terms proposed CRBC vital for province in achieving self-sufficiency in agriculture products 

Special Correspondent

PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has termed the proposed Chashma Right Bank Lift Canal Project (CRBC) as of vital importance for the province in achieving self-sufficiency in agriculture products and has demanded of the Federal Government to include the project in the upcoming Public Sector Development Program (PSDP). He said that the project is of equal importance both for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as for Punjab which, on completion will irrigate million acres of barren land in both the provinces and thereby address the issue of wheat shortage on permanent basis. He made this demand in a meeting of National Economic Council (NEC) held under the chair of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday. Besides the relevant Federal Ministers, the meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of all the four provinces and Gilgit Baltistan and Prime Minister Azad Jammu Kashmir through video links. On special invitation Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shah Farman also attended the meeting through video link. Mahmood Khan said that since food security was the top priority area of both the Federal and Provincial Governments in the prevailing corona situation; and as such inclusion of the proposed CRBC project in the federal PSDP was the dire need of the hour. The Chief Minister also raised the issue of funds for the accelerated development of the newly merged areas at the forum and urged upon all the provinces to fulfill their commitments already made by them for providing three percent of their shares in the National Finance Commission for the newly merged areas. He also demanded that a mechanism of at source deduction of the three percent committed NFC share of all the provinces for the merged areas would be developed to ensure timely provision of the funds to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government. Mahmood Khan remarked that soon after the merger of the ex-tribal areas with the province, the provincial government faced issues of capacity for timely execution of developmental schemes in those areas but now the issue has been resolved and added that cent percent utilization of developmental funds released during the current financial year would be ensured by the end of the financial year. Touching upon the issue of payments of Net Hydel Profit arrears (NHP), the Chief Minister pleaded that payment of NHP arrears to the provincial government be ensured as per the MoU signed between the Provincial Government and Water Resource Division of the Federal Government  so that that provincial government would finalized its upcoming Annual Development Program accordingly. He also demanded the forum to ensure the inclusion of all the important developmental schemes proposed by the provincial government in the federal PSDP. Speaking on this occasion, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shah Farman said the issue of bringing the Ex-FATA into national mainstream through accelerated development was the issue of the entire nation adding that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has played its role very well with regard to the Administrative and legal merger of the Ex-FATA into the province and now it is time that the other provinces should also play their roles in developing the backward areas on fast tracks.