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Last update: Sat, 06 Feb 2016 08pm

Western alignment of CPEC: Prime Minister to open two road projects in Balochistan today

Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, will visit Zhob, Balochistan today (Wednesday) to perform groundbreaking of two road projects of western alignment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) worth Rs 17 billion.

The prime minister will be accompanied by Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister of State For Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal, National Security Advisor Nasir Janjua, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, National Party chief Mir Hasil Khan Bizinjo, and Awami National Party (ANP) leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain during the visit, according to media office of the prime minister.

Sources said the prime minister will perform the groundbreaking of two road projects in Balochistan province which are part of the western route of CPEC. A senior official of the National Highway Authority (NHA) told Business Recorder that the projects include up-gradation of Zhob-Mughal Kot Section (N-50) and Qila Saifullah-Waigam Rud Section (N-70) which will cost Rs 17 billion.

The Zhob-Mughal Kot section is 81 kilometres long and its up-gradation will cost Rs 9 billion, whereas Qila Saifullah-Waigam Rud Section is 128 kilometers long and will cost around Rs 8 billion. Both these projects are financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and will be completed in two years. The official said that Zhob-Mughal Kot section is part of the western route of the all important China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The western route starts from Burhan (Brahama Bahter) on Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway (M-1) and after traversing through D-I-Khan, Zhob, Quetta, Surab and Hoshab, ends at Gwadar.

According to the official, the 280km long Buran-D-I-Khan Section is in the feasibility and land procurement stage and hopefully work on this section will commence early next year.

Up-gradation of Zhob-Quetta Highway (331km) as well as Quetta-Surab-Chaman Highway (116km) are already completed, he said, adding these roads are in excellent condition capable of carrying heavy traffic. The Surab - Hoshab (449 kms) and Hoshab-Turbat- Guwadar section (193 kms) will be completed by December 2016. With the completion of these projects, he said, that road connectivity between Balochistan and other provinces will be immensely improved leading to increased level of business and trade activity.

The government is making special efforts to develop road infrastructure in smaller provinces through various projects and the Balochistan Package is part of the same endeavour.

According to the official, Balochistan being high on government's priorities list is home to about 11 key road projects. The Surab-Chaman section (N-25, 226km) is in the final stages whereas over two-third work is completed on several other schemes including Khuzdar-Shahdadkot (M-8, 148 km), Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab (M-8, 193 km) and Kolpur Bypass. Progress on Surab-Hoshab (N-85, 450km) is fifty percent while Khuzdar-Basima (N-30, 110 km) is in the feasibility stage. Also, three major projects Qila Saifullah-Waigum Rud (N-70, 128km), Mughal Kot-Zhob (N-50, 81km) and Rakhi Gaaj-Bewata (N-70, 32.6 km) are all set to start soon.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015