Major work on CPEC projects done by PTI govt: minister
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has dispelled the impression of slowing down the pace of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, saying that the major work of the CPEC projects was completed during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government.
In the first phase, two major sectors, power and infrastructure, were under main focus, he said, adding: “Power projects with installed capacity of 3,340MW were completed during the previous government, while 5,864MW projects were completed during the present government’s tenure.”
Apart from it, Umar said the work on another 1,824MW projects had also been started recently that would be completed after the tenure of the present government.
In the infrastructure and road sector, the minister said the PML-N government had completed 394 kilometers long motorways and highways under CPEC, while the present government had so far completed 413km of the motorways and highways.
Umar said that the PML-N government totally ignored the Western Corridor that was the heart of CPEC. The Gwdar-Hoshab road was completed by the previous government, while the Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan Motorway was initiated by the PML-N government who completed 42 per cent of the project, while the rest was completed by the PTI government.
Apart from these two projects, the previous government could not even reach to even the initial approval stage of any of the road projects on the Western alignment, he added.
The minister said the DI Khan-Zhob road (210km) was approved and a loan application had been submitted, while negotiations for loan were in process.
Similarly, the contractor for the Zhob-Quetta project had been mobilised and the PC-1 of the Quetta-Khuzdar road was approved, while funding for this project had already been allocated in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2021/22.
The minister said the present government had completed 67 per cent of the 110km Khuzdar-Basima road, while it would also complete the rest of the work soon.
Likewise, the 146km Hoshab-Awaran road project had also been approved and the contractor had been mobilised. The Hoshab-Awaran project is an integral part of the CPEC central alignment that connects the port city of Gwadar with Sindh.
“In fact, the real work on the Western Corridor of CPEC was started during the PTI government,” he said, adding that it did not wait for the Chinese investment and started work on the projects with its own resources under the PSDP.
The minister said the government was also starting work on connecting roads to the Western alignment.
The Peshawar-D I Khan Motorway project is one of such projects, which has recently been approved. Similarly, the 460km Karachi-Quetta-Chaman road has also been approved and one of the portions would be completed by the government itself, while the other sections of this project would be constructed under the public-private partnership.
The government has also accorded approval to other such roads such as Nokundi-Mashkel road, Mashkel-Panjgur road and Awaran-Jhal Jhao road.
The minister said these connecting roads and the Western alignment were being built to take maximum benefit of the opportunities to be opened up in Afghanistan after peace and stability prevailed in the country.
Umar said that after completion of the first phase, the government will enter into the second but very important phase of CPEC under which investment would come to a range of sectors, including industrialisation, agriculture, livestock, science technology, and other social sector development sectors.
When the present government took over, not a single Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under CPEC was operational but now two SEZs, Allama Iqbal Industrial Zone in Faisalabad and Rashakai in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were operational, while another SEZ, Dhabeji would also be functional soon, once the Sindh government has selected the contractor for the SEZ.
Agriculture, he said, was an important sector in which the Chinese had vast experience and who would help Pakistan in strengthening the sector.
So far, eight important initiatives in agriculture sector have been approved under the CPEC through which the Chinese would help Pakistanis to develop the sector.
The Chinese would also help Pakistani farmers in increasing the per acre yield of the crops. Similarly, Umar said that the Chinese would help remove foot and mouth disease from the animals, as this disease was the major hurdle in the way of exporting halal meat to the world.
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