China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to boost economy, committee told

ISLAMABAD: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will enhance economic activities and help implementing particulars projects in collaboration with the concerned ministers. 
Secretary Planning Development and Reform Hassan Nawaz Tarar briefing National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning Development and Report with Abdul Majeed Khan Khanan Khail in chair said decision establishing CPEC was taken during Nawaz Sharif visit to China in July 2013, and purpose was to formulate a long-term economic plan for both the countries.
Tarar told the Committee the agreement emphasised on greater connectivity and trade linkages between two countries through a network of road, rail, fiber optic cables and energy pipelines. 
Pakistan has started a project, CPEC Support Project to properly monitor the projects initiated under this head in line ministries. The project will perform the role of a coordinating body for collecting and disseminating the technical and other necessary information amongst all the concerned ministries on carrying out of numerous infrastructure projects of the economic corridor with regard to improvement and modernisation of infrastructure network of the country including national highway, railways, ports and shipping, energy and other related sub-sectors projects of fiber optics, special economic, export processing and industrial zones along the corridor. 
He said a number of strategic projects were being envisaged under this Corridor especially in transport infrastructure and energy, which would further expand regional economic cooperation. Under this a number of projects are identified among them 6X660 megawatts (MW) coal based power projects (independent power producer) at Gadani with expected cost of $5.940 billion, 2X660 MW coal based power projects at Port Qasim of $1.980 billion, 100 MW Khala Hydro power project with estimated cost of $2.397 billion, solar power park at Bahawalpur 900 MW (100 MW by public sector) at $1.350 billion, rehabilitation and up-gradation of Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar (ML-1) railway track 1,736 kilometers (85% financing from China: 15% Pakistan share) with a total cost of $3.650 billion. There are total 37 projects of national importance with a total cost of $39.553 billion. 
He informed the Committee all these projects were at initial stage and under finalisation process and after which each one would be placed before China and sought financial institution for assistance.
In this regard, a meeting of the Energy Joint Working Group is scheduled on August 4, 2014 in Beijing. 
Member expressed serious reservations over certain projects like Nandipur, Metro Bus and Gadani and demanded details meeting next time. Dr Nafisa Shah said the government has spent Rs 60 billion and reportedly the project has been shut down. She questioned why the government was initiating power generation projects with oil base because the whole world was not doing so. She questioned what happened to our local experts because every thing was handed over to China. Responding to Dr Nafisa question, Tarar said China was funding and has the right to look into the project. 
Chief Statistician Officer Asif Bajwa told the Committee holding population census was pending at Council of Common Interest meeting because Balochistan has raised some question. When the decision would be made, the Authority would become ready to hold census as most of the preparations have been completed in this regard.
The government has made 162,000 blocks each block has 200 to 280 households and needs the same number of security persons. Once these formalities completed, census will be held immediately. The due date for population census was 2008 and currently, the government delayed it for the last six years.

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