No power can stop CPEC, vows Asim

KARACHI: CPEC Authority Chairman, Asim Saleem Bajwa has said that CPEC is the project of national development and no power can stop it.
Addressing the traders at a ceremony on Tuesday, Bajwa said that national leadership is determined to accomplish the CPEC projects.
He said that CPEC, being a flagship project of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, has improved the road connectivity between Pakistan and China and would do so further.
On eastern alignment of CPEC, Bajwa said only one section Sukkur-Hyderabad was left that has already been launched by the Prime Minister Imran Khan recently. He said the request for proposals of this 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 the motorway from Islamabad to Dera Ismail Khan (DI Khan) is at final stage while the DI Khan to Zhob motorway project has also been approved by the Chinese side.
Similarly he said the ground work on road from Zhob to Quetta has also been started whereas Quetta to Khuzdar, Khuzdar to Awaran and Hoshab, and Khuzdar-Basima roads are also under construction and all of them would be connected with different areas of Balochistan and Sindh with Gwadar. Within the next three years, all these routes would be connected, he added.
Bajwa said the western alignment passes through remote areas where there is extreme poverty. The road projects under CPEC would improve connectivity and create new job opportunities for the people lining along the roads, he further said, adding this 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 above-mentioned measures being executed under CPEC Phase-II.
In the agriculture sector, he said, “We are moving towards corporate farming and community farming for which we are working with the provinces.” Similarly in the industrialisation sector Rashakai and Faisalabad, the work was in full swing and a number of industries were being installed.
In Rashakai SEZ, he said 1,000 acre of land had been allocated but some 2,000 applications have so far been received for which 3,600 acres of land is required.
Bajwa said a Canadian and German joint venture has applied for Allama Iqbal SEZ Faisalabad. Similarly a group of Pakistani American doctors is also interested in electro medical equipment manufacturing, he said, adding likewise a lot of people are interested in Dhabeji zone in Sindh which is 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 decided to launch the second phase of the zone spanning over an area of 2,200 acres.
The foreign investors, he said, are already showing interest in the second phase that would help bringing huge foreign direct investment in the country.
He said the first phase of the Gwadar Free Zone was launched two years ago on 60 acres of land which is now “fully colonised and well-populated”.
He said six out of 12 factories have been completed while the rest are under construction. Out of the completed industries, one has also started its production, he added.
He said overall work on Gwadar port and other projects in the city, is in full swing. “Four port buses have been completed, customs have been deployed and the handling capacity of the port is also being increased gradually,” he added.
Bajwa said Prime Minister Imran Khan has specifically formed a separate focus group aimed at increasing traffic of the sea port. The group is led by the maritime ministry while the commerce ministry is also its part, he maintained. – TLTP

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