Swat development initiatives

planning
Returning to normalcy
A few development projects
undertaken in Swat can make the difference for the local people
By Tahir Ali

http://jang.com.pk/thenews/aug2012-weekly/nos-05-08-2012/pol1.htm#2

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has undertaken several development initiatives in Swat and Malakand division (MD) with the support from local and foreign partners.

The Chief Planning Officer (CPO) of P&D KP, Usman Gul, said hundreds of projects worth around Rs145bn are being pursued there. “213 projects in line with the Post Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA) Strategy worth Rs114bn are being planned with allocation of Rs11.4bn this year’s ADP for the purpose.

Similarly, 5 mega projects under Swat development package worth Rs1bn, funded by the federal government, have been completed in Swat. As far as normal ADP channel funded by KP is concerned, 111 projects worth Rs30bn are being planned in Malakand division of which Rs4.5bn are to be spent this FY. 44 projects of these are due for completion shortly,” said the official.

“There are two donors’ assisted projects underway in Malakand under the ADP: One is the UNDP-assisted for strengthening rule of law in Malakand worth Rs13.38bn with an allocation of 335mn for this year.

The other relates to the construction of three police stations and one police line in Swat (NAS Assisted) costing Rs622mn with an allocation of Rs203mn for this year,” he added.

 “Agriculture, minority affairs, drinking water and sanitation, elementary and secondary education, energy and power, food, forestry, Industries, law and justice, mines and minerals, population welfare, regional development, roads, sports, tourism, archaeology, etc are major focus of all these projects,” he informs.

“Energy and power sector is one of the top priority sectors, therefore, 55 per cent of the ADP alone in energy and power sector is being managed through our indigenous resources,” he said.

According to Gul, there is no foreign aided hydro power project (HPP) in Malakand but as most of the hydro power potential was located there, the government was spending 50 percent of the funds there. “13 out of 15 ongoing projects and Rs600mn of Rs1.137bn total allocated for the sector this year are for Malakand division. And off the total cost of Rs23bn of these schemes, Rs16bn have been allocated for the area,” he added. 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, recently inaugurated the Matiltan and Daral Khwar (Bahrain) hydro power projects. Both projects would earn billions for the province besides considerably mitigating loadshedding.

The residents of Matiltan and Kalam would receive Rs260mn from the Matiltan HPP and 250 persons from the area would get jobs. Similarly, the Daral Khwar HPP would generate Rs100 million as royalty for the residents.

The Chief Planning Officer agreed that KP and Swat has great hydropower potential which should be utilised but said that the government had to see institutional capacity of the implementing agencies before assigning any project to them.

The CPO identified sites identification, acquisition of land, funding issue and security constraints as the main problems in implementation of projects and meeting of targets.

The army has been in the forefront in development work in the area. Colonel Arif, In-charge of the Inter Services Public Relations in Swat, said the army also sought help from the NGOs and sensitised and requested the international donors for assistance to rebuild the area. “By activating all these channels, we have been able to restore 100 per cent all the 1625 schools that were partially or totally destroyed by floods or militancy.

The army engineers ensured that the Kalam-Bahrain road remained open for traffic for the first time round the year. So far, the reconstruction of road and bridges has been done on self-help basis by the army and no government funds have been used for them,” he said.

“We had also worked with the local and international NGOs to revive the agriculture and to rebuild the devastated trout fish hatcheries,” he added. According to another official, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), a subsidiary of the Pakistan army, has been given around $70mn for water sanitation, construction of schools and road infrastructure development etc by donors.

For the total post floods reconstruction estimates of $1.1bn, work plans for Rs34bn have been prepared but only Rs18bn have been committed by last year. For the total post militancy reconstruction needs of $0.86bn, only $0.4bn have been committed by the same period. 

The European Union (EU) has been working through a multi-donor trust fund in various fields, which has set aside $114mn for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Malakand. EU was spending 300 million Euros on the reconstruction of schools and other development projects in Swat and Malakand. The USAID has provided $25mn for reconstructing about 110 militancy-destroyed schools in MD.

KP also hopes to receive $200 million for reconstruction activities from the UAE’s Abu Dhabi Fund for Development which would be utilised for construction of Swat Expressway, university in Swat, besides reconstructing damaged schools and colleges. Negotiations are also underway with the Korean government for the Malakand tunnel project of $78 million.

Many areas still have no bridges and chairlifts are the only means of communications across the noisy Swat River. On the way to Kalam, one can see that several micro power stations and the biggest Madyan grid station have been swept away by floods. As none of the hydro power stations and the Madyan grid station has been rebuilt, the entire Swat is provided power by the Khwazakhela grid-station which is beyond its capacity.

“There is no electricity. The only exchange in Kalam is closed since last two years. The health units, schools and other entities have no facilities. Swat airport is still not open for flights,” said Zahid Khan, a local hotel industry leader.

Humayun Khan from Bahrain lost his house and agriculture lands worth millions of rupees in the flash floods of 2010. “Several NGOs helped reconstruct the houses of the affected people. But as I lost my land too, my house wasn’t built by any NGO,” he says. Humayun still lives in a tent with his family which interestingly has solar-lamps and a solar-cooker provided by an NGO.

The army is reported to have helped women and girls to learn skills such as knitting, sewing, machine embroidery, etc, by establishing training centres which were later handed over to the Sarhad Rural Support Programme. Over 800 girls and women had completed training and were now running their own businesses.

Lasting stability depends on several other factors and not restoration of peace alone. Sluggish economic recovery, perpetuation of faulty governance and failure to reach out to the distant areas and the poor most and lack of a speedy judicial system in Malakand could undo military gains.

According to the World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development, the Taliban gained support in Swat valley by building their case on local grievances, weaknesses in administration and justice system. Unless the region has a sound and speedy justice system, the problem would not be solved.

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About Tahir Ali Khan
I am an academic, freelance columnist, writer and a social worker.

2 Responses to Swat development initiatives

  1. Rashid says:

    CAN I REPLY FOR A JOB

    Like

  2. sana ullah says:

    sir i am electrical diploma holder my marks is 63 % now i want want to join internship in madian hydro power house if you can give me a chance i am very thank full to you ……..please sir

    Like

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