ADB, Japan pump in funds to help Balochistan overcome water scarcity issues

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The Asian Development Bank’s Country Director Ms. Xiaohong Yang and Balochistan’s additional chief secretary Mr. Sajjad Bhutta are signing agreement at CM Secretariat, Quetta here on Saturday. Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan and his cabinet members are also present. (Photo by CM House Media)
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Chief Minister of Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan, and the Asian Development Bank’s Country Director Ms Xiaohong Yang are discussing matter of mutual interest at CM Secretariat, Quetta here on Saturday. (Photo by CM House Media)
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Cracks emerge in the earth in Chagai due to drought in Balochistan. (AN photo by Waqar Reki)
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The date trees have dried up in Chagai district of Balochistan. (AN photo by Waqar Reki)
Updated 05 January 2019

ADB, Japan pump in funds to help Balochistan overcome water scarcity issues

  • More than 100,000 families affected by lack of resources, provincial home minister says
  • Loan for funding of various projects aimed at overcoming drought-related problems

KARACHI: The government of Balochistan signed an agreement with a major Asian lender on Saturday for a $100 million loan to overcome issues arising from water scarcity in five major districts of the drought-hit province.

In addition to the deal with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the government has also obtained financial assistance from Japan.

"The government has secured $5million from the government of Japan for these projects, for which the provincial government has also allocated Rs4billion,” Provincial Information Minister Zahoor Ahmed Buledi told Arab News.

ADB's Country Director, Xiaohong Yang, and Balochistan’s additional chief secretary, Sajjad Bhutta signed the agreement. Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan and his cabinet members were also present during the meeting which was held at the CM House in Quetta.

Buledi said the projects include utilizing water from two flood rivers passing through the Zhob and Khuzdar divisions.  

Construction of the Siri Toi Dam in the Zhob division, improvement of the irrigation system in Khuzdar division, creating conditions to make 50,000 acres of land cultivable, ensuring plantation on nearly 11,000 acres, installation of telemeters along rivers Zhob and Moola, and increasing the capacity-building of personnel in the irrigation, agricultural, forest and environment departments are just some of the objectives of the project.

According to Buledi, the construction of two fruit processing zones in Khuzdar and Zhob divisions and installation of two olive oil processing plants in these divisions are also part of the scheme.

"The projects will leave a great positive impact on the lives of people of our province who are facing tough conditions due to drought,” Buledi said, adding that CM Balochistan -- in the meeting with the World Bank officials -- praised its role in the province.

Balochistan – the jugular vein of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in terms of energy and infrastructure projects – has been the worst affected by the drought.

Speaking to Arab News last month, farmers from Kila Saifullah and Chaghi districts said that their crops and livestock were vanishing due to water scarcity issues in the province.

Last month, Home Minister Mir Saleem Khosa, who also heads the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, told Arab News that Rs500 million would be spent on relief, rehabilitation initially, with free medical camps and veterinary dispensaries to be established soon.

The drought has affected 109,330 families and 1,756,578 animals in 20 districts of the province, with the government ensuring the provision of free meals to people in affected areas, Khosa said.

“We will soon introduce a short-term and long-term solution to the issue,” he added. “Emergency cells will be set up at the district and provincial levels to gather data and provide immediate relief to the affected people."

Youngest Bhutto, Aseefa, will make her political debut at opposition’s Multan rally

Updated 29 November 2020

Youngest Bhutto, Aseefa, will make her political debut at opposition’s Multan rally

  • The 27 year old Bhutto has never before addressed a large scale political gathering
  • Chairman PPP, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 last week

ISLAMABAD: The sister of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman and youngest daughter of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Aseefa, will be making her political debut at the opposition alliance rally in Multan on Monday, the PPP provincial secretary general said on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Bhutto, who is an ambassador for polio vaccination awareness, has never taken part in a large-scale political gathering but PPP has confirmed that she will be addressing the crowd in her brother Bilawal Bhutto’s absence, who is quarantining after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.
“The leadership of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) will start addressing the gathering at noon, and Aseefa will speak at 2 o’ clock,” Faisal Karim Kundi, KPK’s PPP General Secretary told Arab News on Sunday.
The PDM is an 11-party alliance of Pakistan’s main opposition parties who are campaigning nationwide at rallies attended by tens of thousands, to oust the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan and calling for early elections.
The Multan rally, in eastern Punjab province, is the PDM’s fourth large scale gathering amid sharp government criticism in the wake of rising coronavirus cases in the country.