ADB offers $100m for Balochistan water projects

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QUETTA: Asian Development Bank (ADB) has shown interest to provide financing for the construction of two watersheds in Zhob and Mola to boost agriculture and irrigation in these areas.

ADB Director Environment Natural Resources Division and West Department Akmal Siddiq made this offer in a meeting with Chief Minister Balochistan Sanullah Zehri on Thursday.

The total cost of the project will be around $115 million and ADB will provide $100m over a period of 25 years with easy terms and condition under soft-loan while the rest of the money will be provided by the Balochistan government.

ADB representative Akmal Siddiq said that under the proposed project many small schemes like construction of small dams, water channels and flood protection infrastructures will also be developed. There were also talks of introducing a drip-irrigation system in Balochistan which is very successful in areas where water scarcity is a big issue.

The chief minister while addressing the meeting said that the incumbent government would welcome projects to the improvement of agricultural and irrigation sectors in the province.

“Balochistan’s coalition government is taking concrete steps to introduce the latest technology in agriculture sector as it is the backbone of the economy of the province,” he said, adding that around 80pc of the population was linked with agriculture and livestock. He informed the meeting that work on a number of agricultural projects was underway and following their completion a huge positive change is expected in the life of the masses in the province.