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Archive for September 29th, 2009

Gilgit-Baltistan to have its first medical college * Tourism declared industry * Gilgit Skardu airports upgraded: PM unveils Rs12bn uplift package for GB

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on September 29, 2009

By Our Special Correspondent

GILGIT, Sept 29: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Tuesday announced Rs12 billion socio-economic package for the development of Gilgit-Baltistan. The package includes a number of projects in health, education, tourism and agriculture sectors.

GILGIT: September 29- Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani addressing a huge public meeting

GILGIT: September 29- Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani addressing a huge public meeting

Addressing a big public gathering at Lalak Jan stadium decorated with tri-colour Pakistan People’s Party flags, the Prime Minister unveiled  development projects in the areas of education, health, agriculture, tourism amid cheers and slogans.

“You are getting your identity today. It is your right and has been your demand and today we are fulfilling it,” the Prime minister said amid slogans and cheers. He said Rs6.5 billion had already been allocated for the development of Gilgit-Baltistan and Rs5.5 billion for capacity building.

“In the budget, we will immensely increase the Public Sector Development Programme for Gilgit-Baltistan,” he said.

Prime Minister Gilani announced setting up of the first medical college in Gilgit provision of an ambulance each for all district and tehsil hospitals. He said Rs870 million had been allocated for health sector.

Mr Gilani said 150,000 tons wheat would be provided to Gilgit-Baltistan on subsidized rate while a horticulture research centre would be set up.

He said cold storage centres would be established to preserve fruits particularly some 55 unique varieties of cherries grown in the area.

Premier Gilani directed appointment of District Commissioner of Hunza-Nagar within a week.

On education sector, he said 540 schools had been transferred to National Education Foundation to improve their quality.

He directed establishment of a bureau of NAVTEC in Gilgit for providing technical education to the youth.

For the development and promotion of tourism, the mainstay of the region, PM Gilani gave the status of industry to tourism.

He ordered for an increase in the number of Northern Areas Transport Corporation (NATCO) buses to facilitate the commuters.

Prime minister said quota would be reserved for the locals officers in foreign and national training programmes. He also directed for fixation of basic salary of labourers at Rs6,000.

He said the salaries of police officials would also be increased and directed to fill all the vacant posts.

Gilani directed Acting Governor Qamar Zaman Kaira to allocate land for the housing scheme for low income group, where the government would construct houses free of cost.

He also announced setting up of a housing colony for the journalists of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The prime minister announced upgradation of Skardu and Gilgit airports, adding that Sost Dry Port would also be improved so as to enhance trade links with China.

He asked the Finance Ministry to consider the reopening of regional offices of Zarai Taraqiati Bank, National Bank of Pakistan and House Building Finance Corporation.

The Prime Minister also ordered restoration of ‘Gilgit allowance’ for the government servants which was suspended during Musharraf era.

Meanwhile during a briefing by the Chief Secretary and home secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan, the prime minister said the government would utilize hydro and mineral resources for the benefit of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The officials briefed the prime minister on administrative and financial matters of Gilgit-Baltistan, at the FCNA Auditorium here.

The prime minister said the government’s comprehensive economic package for Gilgit-Baltistan would improve the living standard of the people.

Chief Secretary Babar Yaqub Fateh Muhammad briefed the Prime Minister on the transition plan of self-governance, economic package and law and order situation in the area.

He also apprised the prime minister on various projects including poverty alleviation, agricultural diversification and public-private partnership in the social sector.

Home Secretary Muhammad Usman Younus briefed the Prime Minister Gilani on Diamer-Bhasha Dam and about the resettlement and rehabilitation plan for the affected people.

Speaking to a select gathering of local elite, bureaucracy, elected representatives and mediapersons at a luncheon hosted by the Acting Governor Qamar Zaman Kaira at a local hotel, the prime minister said clash between institutions will destroy everything. 

Talking about the cynicism among various sections of people about the internal autonomy given to Gilgit-Baltistan, he said his government had no intention to manipulate or rig elections in the area which has for first time given self-governance and internal autonomy to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

“It was up to the people of the area if they want to change their leadership through fair and free polls to be held first time under judiciary.”

Mr Gilani emphasized that institution building was vital to ensure good governance but also warned that any clash between institutions would be fatal for the country.

He said, the federal government would help the Gilgit-Baltistan government in capacity building, good governance, and institutions building.

He said whoever wins the polls should be given opportunity to rule the area.

Governor Qamar Zaman Kaira said Gilgit-Baltistan needed a comprehensive financial package to undertake development projects.

He said the region got a comprehensive political and administrative package which should be followed by substantial financial support.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira presented a list of demands to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to better living standards of the people.

As the area has harsh weather conditions, he said the government employees should get weather allowance equal to that given in Balochistan.

The minister said Hunza-Nagar should be declared a district and the seven district hospitals should be equipped with ambulances and special packages should be announced for education and health sectors.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should be ordered to upgrade the two airports in Gilgit and Skardu to international standard, he said adding youth should get more seats in medical and engineering colleges in other parts of the country.

More professional educational institutes should be set up. Quota of the local population should be increased in federal services.

He demanded raise in pay of police, better pay package for employees.

He called for doubling of the quota of Benazir Tractor scheme and housing schemes for low income groups.

Kaira saluted the people of Gilgit-Baltistan for rendering sacrifices in blood in wars of 1965 and 71 and in political movements.

Earlier, the Prime Minister was received at the Gilgit Airport by Qamar Zaman Kaira, Federal Minister for Information and Acting Governor of Gilgit Baltistan and other senior officials and PPP local leaders.

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