ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Friday dispelled the impression of slowing down the pace of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects saying that major work of the CPEC projects was completed during the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) government.
He said in the first phase of CPEC, two major sectors- power and infrastructure, were under the main focus.“Power projects with an installed capacity of 3,340 MW were completed during the previous government while 5,864 MW of power projects were completed during the current government’s tenure.”
Apart from it, he said work on another 1824 MW project had also been started recently that would be completed after the tenure of the current government.
In the infrastructure and road sector, the minister informed that the PML-N government completed 394 kilometres long motorways and highways under CPEC while the current government had so far completed 413 km of the motorways and highways.
Asad Umar said the PML-N government ignored the Western Corridor that was the heart of CPEC.
He said Gwadar-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 current government.
Apart from these two projects, the previous government could not even reach the initial approval stage of the road projects on the Western alignment, he added.
The minister said the DI Khan-Zhob road (210 km) was approved, and a loan application had been submitted while negotiations for the loan were in process.
Similarly, the contractor for the Zhob-Queta project had been mobilized and 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.
He informed that the current government had completed 67pc of the work of the 110 km Khuzda-Basima road while it would also complete the rest work soon.
Likewise, the 146 km Hoshab-Awaran road project had also been approved, and the contractor had been mobilized. The Hoshab-Awaran project is an integral part of the CPEC central alignment that connects the port city of Gwadar with Sindh.
“Real work on 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 resources under PSDP.
The minister informed that the government was also starting work on the connecting roads to the Western Alignment. Peshawar-DI Khan motorway project is one such project which has recently been approved. Similarly, the 460 km 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 Public-Private Partnership. Likewise, the government has also accorded approval to other such roads such as Nokundi-Mashkel road, Mashkel-Panjgur road, 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.
Asad Umar said after the completion of the first phase, we are entering the second but very important phase of CPEC under which investment would come to a range of sectors including industrialization, agriculture, livestock, science technology, and other social sector development sectors.
He said when the current 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 named Dhabeji would also be functional soon once the Sindh government has selected the contractor for the SEZ.
He said agriculture was an important sector in which the Chinese had vast experience who would help Pakistan in strengthening the sector.
So far eight important initiatives in the agriculture sector have been approved under CPEC under which the Chinese would help Pakistanis to develop the sector.
He said the Chinese would help Pakistani farmers in increasing the per acre yield of the crops. Similarly, he said the Chinese would help in removing foot and mouth disease from the animals as this disease was the major hurdle in exporting Halal meat to the world.