Key CPEC projects have entered advanced stage: Asad Umar

Karachi: Key China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects have entered into advanced stage, expanding the scope of the multi-billion-dollar plan, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said.

Speaking to journalists during visit of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) here, the federal minister said that in the second phase of the CPEC projects relating to agriculture, industry and employment were being planned.

He said CPEC was not only being going ahead but expanding as well. The federal minister said that many things are usually being discussed about its western route.

“We are trying to make Green Line (bus rapid transport system) functional in August.” He further said that encroachments were removed from Mehmoodabad while the authorities had been facing issues regarding Mehmoodabad, Orangi and Gujjar sewerage lines.

Regarding the development plans of Karachi, Umar said that a pipeline will be laid from Karachi port to Pipri on the basis of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and the bidding process of the project was completed. China has made investment for the first industrial zone of CPEC.

Umar said most of the projects would be completed in current year as federal government was actively pursuing the projects under Rs 1100 billion Karachi development package.

The busses under mass transit project Green Line would start plying on roads of metropolis in August this year, the minister said, adding that design of Karachi Circular Railway was completed as well and work could be started by the end of the year.

Initial work on Karachi Trade Corridor- another important project for laying a dedicated railway line from Karachi port to Pipri with estimated cost of Rs 130 billion- started as well and it was expected that tenders of the project under BOT mode would be floated this year, the planning minister said.

The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), he said, resumed work on K-IV project that was suspended since previous two years and its completion might be achieved in second half of 2021, he claimed.

The federal government took responsibility of improving rain water drainage system of Karachi with a focus on Mehmoodabad, Korangi and Gujar Nullah and work was in full swing, he said.

Umar that encroachments has been removed, compensation amount had been paid to affected population of Mehmoodabad.

Terming terming the electricity as a major issue of Karachi said federal government committed to add 900 megawatt in K-Electric’s system but it was going to add more than one thousand megawatt as 450 megawatt project of KE would be commissioned in May while NTDC would be able to provide additional 650 megawatt as well.

Rationalization of electricity price for industrial sector by the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-led government has accelerated industrial activities while large scale manufacturing sector has seen a record growth over 10 percent, he claimed.

The minister said besides increased production of car and cement manufacturing, first time in history of Pakistan quantum of monthly exports remained above $ 2 billion for consecutive 7 months.

He said in the first phase of CPEC basic infrastructure, energy sector particularly hydro-electrical power generation were given priority, he said and added that a multibillion dolor railway project ML-I was in advanced stage and remarkable progress has been achieved in lieu of financing of the project. The joint committee on CPEC would consider the project in its next meeting, he informed.

Umar said that work on Rashakae and Faisalabad trade zones was also in progress. The entire work on western corridor of the CPEC has been carried out by PTI government while during previous governments the important segment of the project was marred by conflicts and confusions, he said.