ISLAMABAD: Despite trade activities in China getting badly affected by coronavirus, the planned visit of Chinese President to Pakistan, meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of China Pakistan Economic Corridor and other trade-related talks between Pakistan and China would not be disturbed by the virus issue.

During a meeting of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reform on Wednesday, Planning Minister Asad Umar said the schedule of Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan would be finalised soon.

He informed the committee that despite the challenge of dealing with the virus, the next meeting of the JCC, the highest forum of CPEC, would be held in April in Pakistan with the participation of a high-level Chinese delegation.

The minister said the ongoing meetings of Pak-China joint working groups were also not being disturbed by the virus, as some of them were being held via video conference.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan is being updated about the situation regularly. So far, there have been no talks about options of avoiding physical visits of delegations/officials on both sides of the border,” Asad Umar said.

He said the government would ensure the increased participation of the chambers of commerce and people directly involved in business with China in CPEC projects.

“We need to increase collaboration in manufacturing and agriculture sectors,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the planning ministry’s additional secretary briefed the members about the implementation on committee recommendations.

On Dasu Hydropower Project, the committee was informed that a meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary on January 21 to sort out the issue of land acquisition.

Moreover, a follow up meeting was held under the chairmanship of the adviser to PM on establishment in which progress of land acquisition was deliberated and timelines to acquire remaining land were also agreed.

The committee directed to obtain details of payments made to the landowners for land acquisition in batch 1 for the Dasu hydropower project.

The committee was informed that WAPDA was implementing the ‘Local Area Development Program’ in the Dasu Hydropower Project area, which included eight infrastructure schemes.

Furthermore, a bill titled ‘The General Statistics (Reorganization) (Amendment) Bill, 2019’ was deferred till next meeting of the committee.

The WAPDA chairman briefed the committee about the Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project (1410mw) Sawabi, saying the Terbela 4 was part of the package of quick impact hydropower projects and that it was more efficient than existing Terbela units.

He said the Terbela 4 had generated 6,347 billion units since its commissioning, adding major objective of the project was to generate cheap environment friendly electricity.

The project would strengthen WAPDA’s financial position and would enable the authority to raise commercial financing for Diamer Basha Dam, the WAPDA chief told the committee.

Regarding infrastructure and allied works on Metro Bus Service Peshawar Morr to New Islamabad Airport, a National Highway Authority member informed that work scope included both civil and structural.

The project, approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in March 2018, had witnessed substantial completion of civil work including metro bus corridor, underpasses, bridges and interchanges, the member added.

“The finishing work and electromechanical work were in progress, whereas infrastructure work would be completed before 30th March this year.”

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