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Rehabilitation, Reconstruction in quake-hit areas

Rehabilitation, Reconstruction in quake-hit areas and development process in country should move in tandem: President

President General Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday that the reconstruction and rehabilitation process in earthquake hit areas and development process in the country should move in tandem. The President was chairing the second review meeting held here to review progress on National Programme for improvement of water courses in the country. The meeting was attended by the Federal Minister and State Minister for Agriculture, Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries of four provinces, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and other concerned officials.

The President said with the policy for relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation in the earthquake-hit areas in place, there is a need that all other developmental work in the country should move in tandem and should not be affected in any way. President Musharraf said the brick lining of water courses is a very important project as this would help save water but also contribute to introducing and promoting new techniques like drip and sprinkler irrigation. The President particularly highlighted and stressed upon the role of all tiers of government from top to grassroots.

"The government functionaries have very important role to play for bridging the gap between policy formulation and its effective implementation on the ground." He said that he would also visit different areas to see himself the progress on the projects like brick lining of water courses, education, health, safe drinking water and electricity. These are the President's special initiatives announced this year. President Musharraf asked the authorities to further expedite the execution of the ongoing projects as these are in the best national interest and will directly benefit the people at grassroots.

The participants of the meeting were briefed by Jahangir Tareen, the Minister for Industries, Production and Special Initiatives. He updated them on the programme of brick lining of water courses and apprised them about the progress made so far since the last meeting on May 18 this year. Giving details, the Minister said 86000 water courses are being lined and by June 30, 2006, the provinces are on track to line 20,000 water courses. He said, since the bottlenecks have been removed adequately so the process after June 2006 will be further expedited. Tareen said the main advantages of these projects are:

the ownership is at the highest level, farmer friendly project design, community based execution instead of contracting out, selection of capable and professionally competent people to execute, support by the provincial governments, particularly by CMs and Chief Secretaries, flexibility available to the Federal Steering Committee and persistent monitoring with regular field visits by all concerned. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission told the meeting that Pakistan's short, medium and long term development projects would not be affected by the extra burden caused by the earthquake.

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