Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday stressed for providing all kinds of facilitation to the poor people in getting bank loans and particularly taking care of their self-respect. He expressed these views while presiding over the weekly meeting of the National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction, and Development here. The State Bank of Pakistan governor briefed the meeting about the provision of loans to the poor and middle-class segments of the society on easy installments. Heads of the National Bank of Pakistan, Allied Bank Limited, Meezan Bank, Bank Al-Habib, Habib Bank and Bank of Punjab apprised the prime minister of the provision of loans under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme. The meeting was told that with the setting up of special desks at their respective branches, the process of getting loans had been made very easy. The private banks would provide loans both under Islamic and conventional banking. The heads of banks assured their full support and cooperation to the government in the promotion of the construction sector and facilitating the poor segments of the society for the construction of their own houses. They lauded the prime minister and the government’s economic team for taking measures for the business community, including the banks keeping in view the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was told that technology was being used to make the process of providing loans in a short time as it would help verify the applicants’ documents early and speedily. The prime minister was told that more private banks would also start providing loans. The Punjab chief secretary told the meeting that an online portal had been established for the constructors and builders. The portal had so far received 6,994 applications and 54 percent of those had been approved. The meeting was told that in order to avoid delay in the approval process, the institutions concerned had also been linked with the online portal. With the provision of a time-line for the approval of applications, the applicant also remained updated about his/her case through the mobile application. The prime minister urged all the provinces to fully utilize the online portal so that the process of approvals could be made early and transparent. PM directs prior environmental studies, conservation for islands development Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday directed the authorities concerned to conduct prior environmental studies and ensure the conservation of natural resources before launching development work on the islands. Chairing a meeting to review progress on Pakistan Islands and Ravi Riverfront Urban Development projects, the prime minister emphasized that the development activity in the two projects would bring in huge investments for Pakistan and create significant employment opportunities for the local people. He said the revenues earned by the island’s projects would be spent on other welfare projects in the respective provinces, a PM Office press release said. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Chairman Lt. Gen. (R) Anwar Ali Haider, Pakistan Islands Development Authority Chairman Imran Amin, and senior officers. Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister Dr Salman Shah, Punjab chief secretary, a senior member of Punjab Board of Revenue, Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) chairman and Bank of Punjab president participated via video link from Lahore. While briefing about the Pakistan Islands, the Pakistan Islands Development Authority chairman said due attention would be paid to environmental conservation and corporate social responsibility (CSR). In that regard, he said, the Authority was working with international environmental organizations, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and had also obtained the “Silver Rating” of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by the US Green Building Council. Regarding the CSR initiatives, he informed the meeting that the Fishermen Welfare Fund would be established for the welfare schemes of local fishermen. He assured that the development of the Pakistan Islands would be made in an environmentally friendly manner. He also briefed in detail about sustainability, water conservation, and financial advisory and investment functions of the Authority. The RUDA chairman briefed the meeting about progress on legal requirements regarding land acquisition, investments, and construction.