JERANTUT, Pahang, August 28: The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has undertaken 54 socioeconomic and infrastructure-related projects in Jerantut since 2010 to-date under the Federal Government’s Special Fund initiative for areas formerly administered by the Development Authority of Pahang Tenggara (DARA) and Jengka Regional Development Authority (LKWJ).

The projects are expected to boost the tourism potential of Jerantut, which has been identified as one of the gateways to Taman Negara, said ECERDC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.

Among the projects that are being carried out this year are the undertaking of a Strategic Implementation Plan for Taman Negara and the maintenance of the National Park, as well as upgrades and construction of public amenities in the district which include the Jerantut rest house, fishermen jetty, community halls, prayer hall, shophouses, multipurpose field and other facilities, just to name a few.

“Altogether, the 54 projects have benefitted more than 88,000 residents in the Jerantut district. Besides enhancing the quality of lives among the local residents, the projects will also help unlock the vast tourism potential in Jerantut that are previously untapped,” said Dato’ Issace in a statement today.

“These developments also reflect the Government’s strong commitment in continuously bringing progress and development to the former DARA and LKWJ areas in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), including the district of Jerantut,” he said.

One of the recently completed projects under the Special Fund initiative is the upgrading of Labu Sentral R&R area at Kampung Labu which is expected to boost the local economy and support potential growth in the ecotourism industry in the coming years.

The newly upgraded Labu Sentral was officially launched today by the Member of the State Legislative Assembly for Tahan, Y.B. Dato’ Wan Amizan bin Wan Abdul Razak.

Dato’ Issace said the upgraded Labu Sentral will benefit Jerantut residents who can now use the facility as avenue to exhibit and promote the local handicrafts, while serving as a rest area for tourists to Taman Negara.

The Special Fund for former DARA and LKWJ areas was established in 2010 by the Federal Government to ensure the continued development of the areas following the dissolvement of the agencies in 1997. Between 2010 and 2012, the Federal Government has allocated a total of RM150 million for the Special Fund which was channelled via ECERDC to the six district and town councils involved, namely, Bera, Jerantut, Maran, Pekan, Rompin, and Temerloh.

The amount was used to implement 291 projects comprising strategic and micro development initiatives, as well as operational and maintenance works as identified by ECERDC and the State Government, which have already benefitted some 659,000 local residents.

Of the total amount allocated, RM15.89 million has been channelled to Jerantut via ECERDC from 2010 until 2012, Dato’ Issace said.

In addition to the projects implemented under the Special Fund, ECERDC is also undertaking various other projects in Pahang such as the Pekan Heritage Tourism Development, Pekan Automotive Park, Muadzam Shah Cattle Research and Innovation Centre, and Panching Water Treatment Plant in Gambang, among others, he added.