Islamabad:Despite opposition by the Federal Minster for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Naveed Qamar, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) has approved three Higher Education Commission (HEC) projects worth Rs6376.2 million.
According to well-placed sources, during the Ecnec meeting held here on May 26, the Federal Minister strongly opposed the allocation saying, “What is the point of allocating budget to HEC when it is going to devolved?”
Secretary Planning Sohail Ahmed replied that the Supreme Court (SC) had ordered that the process of devolution be halted and new ordinances be formulated to make any changes in the administrative structure of HEC. “The budget has to be allocated to HEC till these changes are made in its structure,” he argued.
Talking to The News, HEC Chairperson Dr Javaid Laghari said he could not comment on Naveed Qamar’s remarks since he was not present at the meeting. “I have heard that the federal minister expressed his reservations about the approval of the budget for HEC,” he said. “But I’m pleased that at least three of HEC’s new projects have been approved after such a long time. We have a long list of new projects in the pipeline but we are glad that at least three of them have been picked up.”
The three projects that have been approved include the establishment of a university in Loralai and one in Turbat and the up-gradation of University College of Engineering and Technology, Mirpur to Mirpur University of Science and Technology, Mirpur.
For the establishment of the University of Loralai, Rs1,518.8 million has been approved, of which Rs197.6 million is local investment and Rs1,321.2 million is foreign funding. The duration of the project is four years (2011-15) and includes programmes for computer science, mathematics, business administration, commerce, languages and political Science; the enrolment of 15000-20000 students in 5-10 year; construction of academic block, administration block, common facilities block, two hostels, bachelors’ accommodation and staff residences; and grants for 52 PhD scholarships.
An amount of Rs1,580.4 million has been approved for the establishment of the University at Turbat. Local investment in the project is Rs197.6 million while foreign assistance is Rs1,382.8 million. The four-year project (2011-15) includes major programmes comprising computer science, mathematics, business administration, commerce, languages and political science; enrollment of 15000-20000 students in 5-10 years; construction of academic clock, administration clock, common facilities block, two hostels, bachelors’ accommodation and staff residences; and grants for 52 PhD scholarships.
For the up-gradation of University College of Engineering and Technology, Mirpur to Mirpur University of Science and Technology, Mirpur, RS1,890 million has been allocated of which Rs 325.9 million is local and Rs 1,564.1 million is foreign assistance.
The five-year project (2011-16) includes programmes for power engineering, civil engineering, chemistry, biological sciences, education, economics and English. It aims to enhance enrolment to 1600 students and to construct academic and administration blocks, grants for 30 PhD and 13 short trainings.
Experts believe the decision to approve the HEC projects is politically motivated. “One can guess the motive behind the approval of the projects just by looking at the list of projects. Two projects are Balochistan-related and have been approved as a part of “Aaghaz-e-Haqooq-Balochistan” while the other one has been approved to please the government of AJK,” said a source.
It is pertinent to mention that it is after a considerable time that Ecnec has approved any HEC projects.The news