Senate Committee Speed-Up CPEC Plan
September 17, 2021
The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives directed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority on Thursday to precede the completion of under-implementation projects by regaining the confidence of Chinese companies. “According to my personal sources, the Chinese are dissatisfied with the current status of CPEC projects, and they have approached me to assist in removing bottlenecks,” said Committee Chairman Senator Saleem H Mandviwala.
He directed Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs Khalid Mansoor to take responsibility for the early completion of projects under construction and the removal of all bottlenecks in the approval of megaprojects under consideration, such as the upgrade of the ML-1 railway project and the hydropower projects. Meanwhile, in response to Senator Danish Kumar’s complaints about CPEC ignoring Baluchistan, Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar stated that in the first phase of CPEC, two-thirds of the projects were related to power, with minimal impact on the local area.
He stated that there was a lot of development work going on in the province, particularly in Gwadar, such as desalination plants, technical training institutes, the Eastbay Expressway, and so on. Aside from the CPEC projects, a special historical package of Rs560 billion had been announced for the development of the least developed southern Baluchistan districts, which would include IT parks, industrial zones, power plants, dams, and road projects.
“We are working on four priority Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC, one of which is being built in Gwadar,” he added. “The Baluchistan government had requested this from the federal government, and we have approved the project for connecting Gwadar to the national grid, which will be completed by March 2022,” he added. He also stated that electricity from Iran to Gwadar would be streamlined, and that a 300MW coal power plant was already under construction in Gwadar. “As a result, the city’s electricity problem would be resolved soon.”