ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister Planning, Development and Reforms Professor Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday reiterated that the western alignment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the first and foremost priority of the government, which will be operational by December 2016.
He said Balochistan will be the largest beneficiary of CPEC. He was speaking after chairing a meeting of officials to share with them details of his visit from Gwadar to Sorab in Balochistan where 650-kilometre long missing link of western alignment is presently under construction.
“Construction of road along the western route is a challenging task due to the terrain but Frontiers Works Organization (FWO) is doing a commendable job by carrying out speedy work on the project.”
Commenting on the Peshawar-Lahore-Karachi motorway, Iqbal said that the project is not a new project. It was started in 1990 and was supposed to be completed by 2000, he added. Unfortunately, due to political discontinuity, it lingered on, he said.
“Karachi-Lahore Motorway is being completed with BOT private sector investment due to passenger and cargo traffic. If government had to construct Karachi-Lahore Motorway all by itself, it was not possible in light of resource constraints”, he added.
According to Iqbal, the western alignment will be dualised if traffic volume increased in future. The minister said construction of the western alignment will bring a change in the socio-economic conditions of these remote areas of country.
He also appreciated the hard work of FWO to construct this missing link of western alignment and pointed out that it was really challenging to work in the extreme heat.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2015.
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