ISLAMABAD: The Multan-Sukkur Motorway (M-5) which is part of the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project has been completed.
The motorway – stretching over 392 km – is expected to be opened for public during the ongoing month. It will reduce the duration of journey between the two cities from 6 hours to 3-3.5 hours.
The project is completed at a cost of around Rs294 billion. This motorway begins from Multan and passes through Shujabad, Jalalpur Pirwala, head Panjnad near Bahawalpur, Uch Sharif, Ahmedpur Sharqia, Rahim Yar Khan, Sadiqabad, Obara, Ghotki and Pannu Aqil before culminating in Sukkur near Rohri.
The motorway included construction of a big bridge over River Sutlej near Bahawalpur as well as 54 bridges, 12 service areas, 10 rest area, 11 interchanges, 10 flyovers and 426 underpasses.
The motorway was inaugurated on May 6, 2016 and it took over three years to complete.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan Lijian Zhou called it a mega project, which will ease journey between the two cities. He said the Pakistan Army offered excellent security to staff working on the project.
He said the motorway would offer new economic opportunities to the locals. “Only 3% Chinese worked on the project. The project provided jobs and business to Pakistani citizens and the project also generated revenue in shape of taxes,” he shared.
He said material for the project was also bought from local markets. “This is a mega project which will offer economic benefit to Pakistanis and also reduce travelling time.”
The envoy, however, said security is one of the challenges facing CPEC. “More than 4,000 army, rangers and police personnel are deputed for the project. The Pakistan Army did a great job. There are coordination issues. We have to complete several procedures of various ministries,” he added.
Lijian Zhou also called for countering anti-CPEC propaganda. “Few countries are jealous of CPEC and Belt and Road initiative (BRI). CPEC is a flagship project of the BRI. A loss to CPEC will have a great impact. We will have to jointly counter the negative propaganda.”