With an ambition to make China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a national project, the sixth meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) gave principle approval to Mass Transit Railway Projects in all the four provincial headquarters which would bring about a public service revolution in the country.
The JCC is tasked to monitor and implements the multi-billion-dollar CPEC Thursday culminated its sixth meeting in Beijing, expressing satisfaction over the progress attained yet.
A source privy to the details of the meeting told Pakistan Today that the Mass Transit Railway projects would include Greater Peshawar Mass Transit Project, Karachi Circular Railways, Quetta Mass Transit Railway and Orange Line Metro Project. This agreement is set to scuttle all the controversies attributed to the CPEC.
The meeting noted with satisfaction that most of the early harvest projects were in the advanced stage with start of power projects of around 800 megawatts.
“Those meeting noted that 10,000 megawatts of electricity would be added to the national grid by the end of the year 2017. Out of the 10,000 megawatts, CPEC related projects would contribute 5000 megawatts,” the source added.
The source said that China and Pakistan had also signed the Transmission Service Agreement. Under the agreement, the work would immediately start to install a nationwide transmission line which would help include the power generated from the power projects working in the southern parts of the country.
It was further agreed to include few more power projects to be initiated in northern parts of the country. The official said that a group had been formed to help ensure progress of work on the Diamer Bhasha Dam to be built on the Indus River. Moreover, it was also agreed that the progress of work on two major infrastructure projects i.e. Havelian-Thakot and Multan-Sukkur Motorways was satisfactory.
The meeting also agreed to restore the 136-milometers long Karakorum-Thakot-Raikot Highway. The Khuzdar-Basima highway project was also approved while DI Khan-Zhobe dual road has also been approved.
Moreover, provincial projects like Keti Bandar Seaport, Naukandi Mashkhel, Chitral-Chkadara and Mirpur-Mansehra roads have also been approved.
The meeting also agreed to accelerate work on major projects in Gwadar. Especially, the master city plan and the related projects which are likely to bring socio-economic stability in the Gwadar would be pushed for early completion. The meeting also signed an agreement for 300 MW power project which would be started soon. The pace of work on Gwadar water supply project, Gwadar Hospital and technical institute projects was also reviewed during the meeting. It was stressed that the timely completion of these projects would be ensured which would help bring a positive message of hope and support to local people in Gwadar.
The meeting also approved Special Economic Zones proposed by provincial governments and regions. Those approved included Rashakai Economic Zone, China Economic Zone Dhabeji, China Economic Zone Sheikhupura, Bostan Economic Zone, Gilgit-Makhandas Economic Zone, Islamabad Economic Zone.
A proposal to construct Industrial Park on the land of Pakistan Steel was also approved while Bhimber Industrial Zone was also identified. The feasibility study would also start on Quetta Water Supply Scheme and Steel Mills Complex Chiniot.
Later, Federal Minister for Planning Commission Ahsan Iqbal appreciated the consideration and inclusion of projects proposed by the provinces in infrastructure and energy to harness different opportunities and development in various parts of Pakistan to distribute fruits of CPEC to all provinces and regions. He further mentioned that one industrial zone in each province has been identified and selected on the basis of their market attraction and principles of business.
“Three years ago when China and Pakistan started the journey of CPEC, there were many doubts about covering so much ground in very little time. With the support of political leadership, hard work of officials of both countries, CPEC has become the biggest project of regional connectivity in the world,” he added.
He said CPEC is the flagship project of “One Belt, One Road” showing how one belt one road can transform the regional cooperation into reality and bring benefits to millions of people. He said that one proof of the success of CPEC is that today think tanks from all over the world including America, Canada and Europe are doing research to analyse the impact of CPEC in the region.
The Minister maintained that CPEC has added more value to the friendship of China and Pakistan. CPEC has become the north star of friendship between China and Pakistan making the friendship even higher than skies