GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan will be drawing greater benefit from the multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the region is set to get a sizeable economic zone to boost trade and commerce.
“The economic zone, spreading over 250 acres, will have scope for economic activities at larger scale,” said a government official while referring to a joint coordination committee meeting on CPEC which was held in Islamabad recently.
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The meeting had been chaired by Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal. Representatives of all provinces and Azad Jammu and Kashmir were present in the meeting. G-B was represented in the meeting by Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman.
“The economic zone will have [designated] industries for agriculture, livestock, minerals and handicrafts,” the official told The Express Tribune on Monday, while asking not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
He added that the details and modalities discussed in the Islamabad meeting would be shared with authorities in China when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visits with a delegation in near future.
According to an official report issued earlier, two separate hydropower projects in the region were due to be included in CPEC.
“A 100 megawatt hydropower project in Gilgit and another 80 megawatt project in Fundar valley in Ghizer district have been listed under CPEC,” the report said, with the projects estimated to cost approximately Rs50 billion each.
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In addition, a regional grid will be established in Gilgit to pool energy resources. According to the report, the financial resources for the grid would be provided by the federal government – which has already agreed to provide Rs25 billion for the purpose.
In the first phase, three districts of Gilgit would be connected to the grid, while the rest of G-B would be connected in the second phase.
Work on first phase is expected to start next year.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2016.