KARACHI: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Chairman Lt-General Asim Saleem Bajwa (retd) on Tuesday said that road connectivity projects under CPEC will be completed in the next two and a half years as work on central, eastern and western alignments is in full swing.

Addressing the business community at Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Bajwa said CPEC is Pakistan's national project and the nation is connected to it. "No power on the earth can stop CPEC from accomplishment," he said.

On eastern alignment of CPEC, Bajwa said only one section (Sukkur-Hyderabad) was left that had already been launched by the Prime Minister Imran Khan recently.

He said the request for proposals of that project would be completed under public private partnership mode and floated within a month and after that the ground work would be started.

“Now our full focus is on western alignment,” he said, adding motorway from Islamabad to Dera Ismail Khan (DI Khan) was at final stage while the DI Khan to Zhob motorway project had also been approved by the Chinese side.

Similarly, he said, the ground work on road from Zhob to Quetta had also been started whereas Quetta to Khuzdar, Khuzdar to Awaran and Hoshab, and Khuzdar-Basima roads were also under construction and all of them would be connected with different areas of Balochistan and Sindh with Gwadar. Within next three years, all those routs would be connected, he added.

Bajwa said the western alignment passed through remoter areas where there was extreme poverty. The road projects under CPEC would improve connectivity and create new job opportunities for the people lining along the roads, he said, adding that would ultimately bring prosperity in the area.

The CPEC Authority chairman said, “We are now moving beyond energy and road infrastructure to agriculture, Special Economic Zones (SEZs), tourism, science technology and information technology.” He said the poverty alleviation could be ensured through the abovementioned measures being executed under CPEC phase-II.

In agriculture sector, he said, “We are moving towards corporate farming and community farming for which we are working with the provinces.”

Similarly in industrialization sector Rashakai and Faisalabad, the work was in full swing and number of industries were being installed.

In Rashakai SEZ, he said 1,000 acre of land had been allocated but some 2,000 applications had so far been received for which 3,600 acres of land was required.

Bajwa said a Canadian and German joint venture had applied for Allama Iqbal SEZ Faisalabad. Similarly, a group of Pakistani American doctors was also interested in electro medical equipment manufacturing, he said, adding likewise lot of people were interested in Dhabeji zone in Sindh which was more suitable for many investors because of easy approach to Karachi Port.

With respect to the industrial development under CPEC, Bajwa said keeping in view the rising interest of foreign investors in the Gwadar Free Zone, the government had decide to launch second phase of the zone spanning over an area of 2,200 acres.

In his welcome address President KCCI Shariq Vohra said that the business community of Karachi wants to play an important role in the CPEC. "The purpose of inviting you is to build working relationship, and get to know as to how Karachi's industrialists can offer services in this game changer project," he said.

Despite challenges and international conspiracies, the CPEC is moving forward as power generation, road construction, fibre optics and other projects are proof that this project will be a game changer for the country.

Zubair Motiwala, Chairman Businessmen Group, said: "We have been running the business community in Karachi for 23 years. We are going to connect with the world by road under this flagship project of belt and road initiative. We have Northern Bypass, Southern Bypass and Lyari Expressway which need to be connected directly with the ports.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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