The Punjab cabinet recorded a protest against the federal government for not signing the Greater Thal Canal (GTC) agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) before the expiry of the deadline, ARY News reported on Sunday.
CM Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi chaired the fifth provincial cabinet meeting on Friday in which the cabinet recorded a protest against the federal government.
The Punjab government blamed the Centre for failing to secure loan for the next phase of the Greater Thal Canal (GTC) project before the deadline, hence the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has declined to extend the loan signing time.
Addressing the cabinet Pervaiz Elahi bashed the federal government for its incompetence, which is costing the country one billion dollars in lost foreign exchange. The federal government demonstrated enmity toward the nation, Punjab, and economically destroying farmers.
“If there was an agreement on the Greater Thal Canal (GTC), the farmers would have received water and would have been self-sufficient in wheat.” He further added.
“If there was an agreement on the Greater Thal Canal, the farmers would have received water, Pakistan would have been self-sufficient in wheat, and one billion dollars can be saved by not importing the wheat, adding to this, the Punjab government will go to the last extent for its right.” CM Punjab Pervaiz Ilahi stated, slamming PM Shehbaz Sharif.
The $200 million worth of “Loan 4167—PAK: Greater Thal Canal Irrigation Project” was to be spent on building the next phase of the GTC Project in Punjab.
Earlier this month, the Secretary Ministry of Economic Affairs, Dr Kazim Niaz wrote a letter to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) requesting to extend the deadline of a potential six-month extension of the loan signing period, Yevgeniy Zhukov, DG, ADB, reiterated that the loan would automatically lapse on December 13, 2022, unless the loan and project agreements are signed within that period.
It is worth mentioning here that the proposed loan program aims to enhance food security and rural economic growth in Punjab. It will increase agricultural production by developing a new seasonal irrigation system in the Bhakkar, Jhang, Khushab, and Layyah districts of Punjab. The Greater Thal Canal (GTC) Irrigation Scheme will convert about 704,000 hectares of unproductive land to irrigated land.
The provincial cabinet discussed other items on the agenda. The cabinet members approved the fast-track launching of the Waste II Energy project for generating low-cost electricity, grant-in-aid for the journalist housing society in Faisalabad, and a 50 per cent condonation fee and timeframe for shifting industrial and residential units.