Senate body wants CPEC funds released


Senate panel for early fund release to conduct feasibility of industrial zones along the Western route of CPEC

Senate Standing Committee on Communications on Friday called for immediate release of funds for conducting feasibility studies for establishment of industrial zones near the Western Alignment of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The committee issued directives to Board of Investment chairman who heads the committee, formed by the prime minister, over the industrial zones to finalise its recommendations within the next few days.

The committee meeting, chaired by Senator Daud Achakzai, was discussing the progress on CPEC for the first two quarters of the ongoing fiscal year.

The completion of CPEC is in the interests of all federating units and if the project does not become a reality, all would suffer, said members of the committee.

Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that the National Highway Authority (NHA) was doing its job quite well but ambiguity still persisted about industrial zones, power and other projects.

Additional Secretary Khyber Pakhunkhaw told the committee that so far his province was not provided complete details about the projects related with CPEC. Some members opined that there was ambiguity over the Western Alignment of the corridor.

Secretary Communications and National Highway Authority (NHA) Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar informed the committee there was no ambiguity about the Western route of the CPEC.

He said that NHA was following the declaration of the All Parties Conference, so statements about ambiguity about road projects were incorrect.

He said that under the project, Hassanabdal, Mianwali, Dera Ismail Khan, Zob, Quetta, Kalat, Nag, Bisma, Panjgur and Turbat would be connected to Gwadar. He said that the project’s tenders have been done.

He said the impression that China would fund all projects of the CPEC was not correct, government of Pakistan and other agencies were also funding the corridor.

He said that Rs 40 billion were being spent on the Western route of the CPEC. He said that Chinese loans for CPEC projects were being processed.

He announced that soon first section of a CPEC project would be inaugurated.

The committee was informed that completion of balance work of Quetta-China highway was being done by FWO and it was expected that it would be completed by the end of the current fiscal year.

The NHA chairman said that the process of land acquisition for the construction of Kuchlak Pass was underway and it was hoped that work would commence by June this year.

The meeting was attended by Senators Sajjad Turi, Muhammad Ali Saif, Usman Khan Kakar, Kamil Ali Agha, Kalsoom Perveen and Rozi Khan Kakar. Senior officials of the Ministry of Communications and NHA also attended the meeting.