By Furqan Rao
BEIJING, Dec 30 (APP): Minister for Planning, Development and Reform (MPD &R) Ahsan Iqbal, Friday said the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has approved Rail-based mass transit projects for all provincial capitals of the country including Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta.
Ahsan Iqbal told APP that these rail projects will be almost similar to the Orange Line Train currently being constructed in Lahore. These all four projects have also been made part of the CPEC framework.
He said that China and Pakistan cooperation was entering in a new phase with an agreement to setup 9 industrial zones in the country, out of which two Industrial Zones will be set up by the federal government in Islamabad and Karachi and rest in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhaw, Baluchistan , Gilgit Baltistan , FATA and Kashmir.
The CPEC is covering the whole country and it is a clear message for those people who were leveling baseless allegation that Industrial Zones are being set up only in one province, he said.
He further said the JCC also approved new road projects for connectivity of all provinces which will improve the already existing infrastructure. This includes Chitral to chakdara, Gilgit Baltistan to Karakoram, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Manshera highways, which would further be linked to nearby areas.
For Balochistan, Basima- Khuzdar road will be built and for Karachi circular railways and Keti Bandar project would be completed, Minister added. The provinces will complete the feasibility and technical studies as soon as possible so that work on projects could be started soon, he added.
The effects of CPEC project are already quite obvious on Pakistani economy, he said. The construction of steel and cement industry are picking up pace and employment opportunities are being created, he added.
By 2018 10,000 MW of energy shall be added to the national grid to boost the economy. Minister said that 5000 MW will be included under the CPEC project and further 5000 MW will be under independent federal government projects. This will completely alleviate the energy crisis and help boost the economy further, he added.
The government is now focusing on Transmission Line projects so the energy produced from the power plants installed in south of Punjab can be added to the national grid, he said. For this Matiari-Lahore Transmission line has also been discussed in the JCC, he added