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Asad Umar directs PTA to provide 3G, 4G services for GB in a month

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has directed the Ministry of Information Technology and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to finalize the auction of 3G and 4G licenses in Gilgit Baltistan (GB).

While chairing a progress review meeting on GB development Plan, Asad Umar instructed the officials of PTA to ensure the provision of 3G and 4G services in the region within a month.

Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Khalid Khurshid, Secretary Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and GB, Secretary Planning, Secretary Water and Power, Chairman NHA, PTA officials and CEO Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Authority attended the meeting.

The minister said producing economic activities in distant areas will only be possible through strong IT infrastructure in the future, adding one of the underlining principles is to create maximum employment opportunities for the youth and people of GB.

Additional Chief Secretary GB briefed the Minister on the GB potential projects in the public sector, non-PSDP (Public Sector Development Programme) initiatives, as well as in the Public-Private Partnership model.

The various priority sectors such as clean energy and hydropower, health, education and skill development, tourism, private sector development, agriculture, women’s development, social welfare and youth were discussed in the meeting.

The meeting was informed that all the Provincial departments are in contact with relevant Federal Ministries/ Divisions and PC-Is of the shortlisted schemes are being prepared by the respective departments.

GB Government placed special emphasis on clean energy to mitigate severe power crises in the area, other priority sectors included tourism, gems and minerals, agricultural products, roads and communications and information technology.

Asad Umar stated that the GB power sector should have a regional grid of its own as a connection to the grid posed a challenge due to the distance involved.

He said that the aim of the GB development package on the energy side is not only to produce energy but also to build the right institutional and regulatory framework and generation transmission distribution capacity as well.

The minister called on the BOI to hold roadshows in two or three different cities in Pakistan where the federal and provincial governments could jointly market available public-private opportunities to potential investors.

Asad Umar directed the Planning ministry to devise a strategy for training and capacity building of GB officers and instructed all the ministries and divisions to complete the feasibility and submits the PC-Is to the DWP so that activities on the ground could start as early as possible. 

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