ISLAMABAD: The federal government approved three new road infrastructure projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Wednesday, which will be built at a cost of $1 billion, with the aim of completing the missing links to connect the Gwadar port with Kashgar.
The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) – the body empowered with the highest economic decision-making authority – sanctioned these projects, which will assist in finalising loan agreements with the Chinese authorities.
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The projects include a 280km road from Raikot to Thakot at a cost of Rs8 billion, a 210km dual carriageway from Yarik to Zhob worth Rs76.5 billion and a 110km road from Basima to Khuzdar which will cost Rs19.2 billion.
The Joint Cooperation Committee – the CPEC’s decision-making body – has already cleared these projects in its sixth meeting held in Beijing. Subsequently, Pakistan submitted a loan request to China for financing of these projects.
Meanwhile, the Ecnec approved two power transmission line projects to evacuate electricity generated at two nuclear power plants in Karachi, along with 1,320 megawatts from Thar coalmines power plant. It sanctioned to lay a transmission line at a cost of Rs21.8 billion for the evacuation of power from Thar’s coal-based power plant.
The committee also approved another transmission line project at a cost of Rs5.6 billion to connect Karachi nuclear power plants having 2,200 megawatts generation capacity with the national grid. The two nuclear plants are planned to be completed by 2022-23 under a government-to-government deal with China. Additionally, the Ecnec approved land acquisition project for construction of Faisalabad-Abdul Hakeem motorway at a cost Rs4.3 billion. It also cleared improvement and construction of Jalkhad-Chilas road project worth Rs7.8 billion.
Regarding the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit project, the committee approved a revised proposal at a cost of Rs24.6 billion. The Central Development Working Party had increased the cost of the metro bus project by 52%, in addition to approving changes in its design. The project starts from Karachi’s Surjani Town and will go all the way to Saddar, with the federal government funding the undertaking.
Previously, the Ecnec approved 15 projects costing Rs261 billion, including two metro bus projects in Islamabad and Karachi.
The Ecnec also approved Rs16.5 billion project for the construction of a 26km long signal-free road that will connect the city of Islamabad with its new international airport that is being constructed in the suburbs. There will be 10 metro bus stations at regular intervals, while four will be added at a later stage. Even though the new will become operational by August, the metro bus extension project will take an addition 18 months. Furthermore, the committee approved dualisation of the Indus highway from Sarai Gam¬bila to Kohat at a cost of Rs30 billion. At present, the highway is a one-lane road, but is planned to consist of four lanes.
‘Gwadar southern centrepiece of China’s plan’
The body also cleared 500-kilovolt Chakwal substation at a cost of Rs6.7 billion, which includes Rs3.8 billion from foreign loans. For the enhancement of transformation capacity, the committee approved a project at a cost of Rs16.5 billion including Rs12 billion for loan.
Meanwhile, compensation of Rs3.5 billion was approved to the affected people of the Mirani dam which was struck by flood of 2007.