Govt decides to extend western route of CPEC to Gilgit

With addition of Gilgit-Shandur, Shandur-Chitral and Swat motorway, western corridor to equal 1,617km

ISLAMABAD: In a high level meeting held here on Wednesday, the government has decided to extend the Western Route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Gilgit via Swat, Chitral and Shandur. 

The meeting which was chaired by Federal Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, has decided to make Gilgit-Chitral section of road a part of the CPEC Western Corridor. The meeting was attended by Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid, Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa and other officials.

As per the earlier plan the Western Alignment of the CPEC was to be of 1153 kilometers starting from Gwadar in Balochistan to Brahma Bahtar Interchange near Hasan Abdal, of  Punjab province. With the inclusion of new routes like Swat Motorway, Gilgit to Chitral highway, the Western Corridor would be of 1617 km.

According to an official, through connecting Shandur -Chitral road project (172 km), Gilgit- Shandur route (212 km) and Swat Motorway (M-1) of 80 km with the Western Corridor, GB would be given an alternate route to existing Karakorum Highway to link with other provinces of the country. With the addition of 464 km the western corridor project would not only boost economic activities of the country but also tourism in GB.

It may be recalled here that the government has already included the Gilgit Shandur project in the historic development package announced for GB this year. The Shandur-Chitral route project has also been approved by ECNEC recently.

During the meeting, the chief minister also recommended the ministry to execute other planned mega power projects of GB including the 100 MW KIU Power project, 80 MW of Phandar and Dodyal 500 MW hydro power project under the umbrella of CPEC. The official claimed that it has been agreed to include these mega power projects in the CPEC. It may be recalled here that The initial two power projects were earlier decided to be included in CPEC by the previous government of PML-N.

CPEC Authority Chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa has claimed that the western alignment routes of the  CPEC would be completed in around three years while the country is entering the second phase of CPEC that primarily focuses on agriculture and mass industrialization. Work on the western alignment was underway on the route from Islamabad to Dera Ismail Khan and from Dera Ismail Khan to Zhob.

It is pertinent to mention that all routes of the western alignment go through remote areas where poverty rate is higher, jobs are less and industrial development and infrastructure is very low, thus completion of these projects will usher in prosperity in these areas.




- Advertisement -
Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]
- Advertisement -

Must Read