ISLAMABAD: China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Chairman Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa said that work on CPEC projects are going on across the country.CPEC Authority chairman and Secretary...
ISLAMABAD: China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman Lt Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa said that work on CPEC projects are going on across the country.
CPEC Authority chairman and Secretary Planning Ministry ruled out possibility of changing Planning Ministry’s leading role in CPEC Authority and stated that ML-1 project would be completed with estimated cost of $7.2 billion that would increase rail share in overall transport sector from 4 to 20 percent.
CPEC Authority Chairman Lt Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa and Secretary Planning Mathair Niaz Rana briefed the Senate Special Committee on CPEC under Senator Sherry Rehman that held its meeting here at the Parliament House on Monday.
He said that the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved ML-1 with cost of $7.2 billion. The ML-I Railway Project includes dualization and upgrading of 1,872km railway track from Peshawar to Karachi, and it’s a big milestone for the second phase of the CPEC.
The Orange Line train project will also be opened to the public soon, he said. CPEC Authority chairman also informed the committee that work on the western route is in progress, and Rashakai Special Economic Zone (REZ) would be inaugurated soon.
While chairing the meeting of the Special Committee on CPEC, Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman asked if the news about CPEC losing its lead Ministry to the Authority is true.
“It has come to our attention that some important changes are under consideration on how the CPEC Authority will be run. We hear that the planning minister will be removed from lead roles to be replaced by the CPEC chairman, and various new powers will be given to the CPEC authority. There should be more clarity on this as this news was not refuted. If this is true, why the powers of the planning minister are being limited. Is it because of lack of performance? What is the role of the Prime Minister in this? Will CPEC Authority not be under the supervision of any Ministry?” she questioned.
The Senator said, “The purpose of the Authority was to coordinate better between 16 ministries that are involved in the inter-ministerial coordination. The lapses in the project occur due to mismanagement and lack of strategic planning. Either way it is important to establish strong ministerial capacity and leadership in moving projects forward with inclusion and transparency,” she added.
This was then clarified by CPEC Chairman General Bajwa and Secretary Planning in the Senate CPEC committee meeting that there is no move to change the lead ministry’s role in CPEC Authority.
While discussing the need for developing stronger partnerships among provinces, and noting slowness in projects in Balochistan she said, “The province of Balochistan is close to our hearts and all the projects under the umbrella of CPEC are important for development.”
Sherry Rehman highlighted the importance of Gwadar in CPEC, and said, “The city of Gwadar and the province of Balochistan would not only thrive but the trade and economic activities would leave a positive impact on the overall development of the country. The operationalisation of Gwadar port and completion of development projects in the city would be a big achievement for the area.“
“CPEC is an important platform for Pakistan and all parties stand united on it. It is vital that the provinces are taken into confidence as their partnership is of immense importance,“ she added.
The committee was briefed that 19 projects were completed, 28 were under implementation and 41 were in the pipeline. The CPEC chairman assured the committee that all projects will be completed within the stipulated and given timelines as they were finalised at the time of signing agreements.
Sherry Rehman concluded by emphasising the need for expediting work on the various projects related to power generation, agriculture, science and technology and communication infrastructure.
She said, “We want CPEC to progress, and the development initiatives under this project need to be made inclusive by taking all on board as it is a game changer for the whole region”.
▶Asim Bajwa informed that Gwadar port had become operational now and the city was now receiving water supply of 1.2 million gallons daily. He further informed that east bay express way had completed while airport work was underway.