CPEC’s western route clears another hurdle

Published: March 31, 2016
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: 

In a first concrete step towards implementing the decisions of last year’s all-party conference (APC), the government cleared on Wednesday construction of the 285-kilometre long western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) cleared the Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan four-lane expressway at an estimated cost of Rs129.8 billion, which will link the undeveloped areas of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with the CPEC road network.

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The CDWP also approved another project at a cost of Rs13.6 billion to acquire land for construction of this western route.

Both the projects will now be placed before the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for final approval. The CDWP has the mandate to approve projects worth up to Rs3 billion and recommends higher cost schemes for the final approval of Ecnec.

Headed by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, the CDWP sanctioned Rs218.2 billion worth of development projects, including seven projects worth Rs203.5 billion which were referred to Ecnec.

An APC had recommended that the government give priority to the western route of CPEC, which passes through some of the hinterlands of the country and can help address the issue of poverty in these areas. The government had initially preferred the eastern route and allocated more than 90% of CPEC funding for its earlier completion.

The Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan road will be completed by June 2018 and work is expected to begin by the middle of this year. The proposed motorway will be built as a controlled access facility and includes provision of 11 interchanges, 19 flyovers, 15 bridges, 74 underpasses, 259 culverts and three major bridges.

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The new proposed road network will facilitate the traffic in backward areas of Punjab and K-P. The proposed alignment will start near Hakla on M-1 motorway and after traversing through Fatehjang, Pindigheb, Tarap, Daudkhel, Mianwali, Isa Khel, Kundal, Rehmani Khel, Abdul Khel, Paniala and will end near Yarik on N-55.

Ahsan Iqbal said this portion of western route is being built as per the decisions of the APC held in May last year.

The project envisages acquisition of 7,575 acres of land for construction of the expressway. The average unit cost of project is Rs1.8 million per acre, which is slightly on the lower side when compared with the unit cost of the Rs1.97 million per acre of Sukkur-Multan section of the eastern route.

The proposed alignment of the project along the western route of CPEC has been taken up as agreed during the 5th Joint Coordination Committee meeting between China and Pakistan that took place in November 2015.

The CDWP also recommended a project for installation of Ship Lift and Transfer System to provide facilities to surface ships, submarines and commercial vessels up to Dead Weight 7.781 tons net lifting capacity at the cost of Rs9.8 billion. The original cost of the project was Rs3 billion. This will enhance repair and maintenance capability of by than 13 vessels at a time, provide strategic launch facility for newly constructed submarines in Pakistan and increase its ship repairing and building capacities by 300%.

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In the energy sector, the CDWP recommended Golan Gol Hydro Power Project at a cost of Rs28.4 billion for the approval of the Ecnec.  It also a 500KV Islamabad West project at the cost of Rs3.6 billion to Ecnec.

The CDWP deferred the approval of Nai Gaj Dam due to objections over its cost and non-availability of funding.  The original PC-I of the project was approved by the ECNEC in 2009 at a cost of Rs16.9 billion, which in 2012 was revised to Rs26.2 billion. Now the Wapda has sought another revision, increasing the cost to Rs46.6 billion.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2016.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • khalid
    Mar 31, 2016 - 9:04AM

    Wow – Great going guys..speed is the key here. Long Live PakRecommend

  • shafi
    Mar 31, 2016 - 1:48PM

    people of KPK reject the expressway highway route, y not Motorway is being built, like the eastern route, y CM KPK agree to expressway high wayRecommend

  • Asli king
    Mar 31, 2016 - 2:35PM

    Mr Shafi , Janay dain Sir ..no need to creat havoc of this.Recommend

  • shahbaz
    Mar 31, 2016 - 2:57PM

    @shafi bhai kpk already has a 6 lane motorway from lahore to peshawar which serve swabi mardan charsadda nowshera peshawar…and a new 6 lane hazara motorway is also under construction which starts from burhan to thakot it also cover kpk areas….this expressway pass through new hinterland areas 4 lane is enough for it Recommend

  • cautious
    Mar 31, 2016 - 8:10PM

    Govt has repeatedly said that CPEC was investment rather than China loan – if that’s true then someone explain the mechanism for investing in roads/bridges? Are these toll roads? If this investment is really a loan then what are the terms of the loan and how does Pakistan expect to make money on these roads/bridges in order to repay the loan? CPEC still remains a mystery and nobody seem capable of writing an article explaining the funding mechanism, the specific projects, and the impact to Pakistani taxpayers.Recommend

  • salman
    Mar 31, 2016 - 8:27PM

    Why it takes ages to approve or clear any proposal for existing projects ? The bureaucracy is so lethargic here perhaps wait till the end to make money from any where.Recommend

  • S Junaid
    Mar 31, 2016 - 9:18PM

    @shafi ‘people of kpk reject the expressway..’ – so if you speak for the people of kpk why do we need a provincial assembly there anyway. Clearly you know what ‘they’ want. This will save us a lot of resources which we can use to make the motorway.Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Apr 1, 2016 - 2:22AM

    Mr Ahsan Iqbal. He is most unreliable person and changes his words. Western route is still under consideration.Will it be implemented, Mr Ahsan Iqbal or it is just tamik tuianRecommend

  • Maria
    Apr 1, 2016 - 2:46AM

    @shafi: Problem with rejecting this expressway is saying you reject development. Remember Imran Khan also said CPEC is all just a joke created by Nawaz Sharif. Now that he is making it, everyone wants to complain about nothing. Look at how developed and stable Pakistan is getting in just 3 years with Nawaz Sharif.Recommend

  • shafi
    Apr 1, 2016 - 12:25PM

    Dear Maria and S.junaid,plz come out of Punjabi mentality and think for Pak, by rejecting Express highway we mean that we need Motorway like western route, and does the M2 not pas through punjab that punjab needs another Motorway but KPK does not need it as query raised by Shahbaz. CM KPK and ANP leaders all demand for motorway, can u explain y motorway is being built for eastern route, even the federal govt accepted at lahore hight court that the detail of CPEC r highly confidential ,and cannot be provided to court when high court asked for detail during orange line hearing case, Ishaq dar says multiple times that if small provinces agree that work on kalabagh dam can be started tomarrow, he has money for kalabagh but no money for Bash ,munda damm.We believe that we r being treated like servant not the owner of country, if we r the owner then y route is change without consulting KPK CM. https://web.facebook.com/justiceforpashtuns/photos/a.302184369884642.48681.302037413232671/712455022190906/?type=3&theaterRecommend

  • sterry
    Apr 1, 2016 - 9:52PM

    @shafi: The government in KPK needs to work with the Federal government for making a Motorway if that is what people want. The Western route is closer to Afghan border where there are lots of criminals and Indian agents who will try to attack it like the Indian agent Yadav who was captured. People need to stop thinking about whether Western route is being built at expense of Eastern route or vice versa. Just build both and keep both safe. Obviously the safest route is the Eastern route through Sind and Punjab but we also need to develop Western route for long term benefit. Everyone should think of the country instead of arguing about routes since Indian agents based in Afghanistan and Iran will attack the CPEC no matter where it is.Recommend

  • Tariq
    Apr 2, 2016 - 5:16PM

    Please think about smart cities along with C P E C India is already working on smart cities.Recommend

  • mubasher khan
    May 8, 2016 - 3:24PM

    I think Imran khan have better leadership qualities than any other leader but still iam in favor of western route. It shoud be enrouted where most of the populated cities are situated. Dont make it a war amongst provences. As making CPEC a political issue like Kalabagh is an indian agenda not Pakistani people’s agenda (if you are)Recommend

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