PM directs for land acquisition for six-lane road of Western Route: Senate told

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 12 (APP): Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ashan Iqbal Tuesday informed the Senate that the Prime Minister had directed for acquisition of land for six-lane road of Western Route under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
During question-hour in the House, the minister said that it was the top priority of the government to construct CPEC’s western route.
The minister said that with the completion of the CPEC projects it would open new avenues of progress not only for Pakistan but also for the whole region.
Ahsan Iqbal said the alignment from Islamabad to Dera Ismaial Khan was being finalized and land acquisition of 100 meter corridor accommodating six-lane Motorway was in progress.
He said that however, four-lane Motorway would be constructed initially adding upon traffic justification, two additional lanes would be added.
Subsequent to D.I.Khan to Zhob, the feasibility study design was in hand.
Ahsan Iqbal said the Western passage was proposed to pass through Gwadar-Kech-Panjgur-Washuk-Kalat-Mastung-Quetta-Pishin-Qila Saifullah Zhob-Sherani-FATA-Dera Ismail Khan-Mianwali and Attock onward with northern alignment.
He said the work had already started after ground breaking by the Prime Minister on December 30 which consisted of the existing upgrading N-50 from Zhob to Mughal Kot which would become part of CPEC western passage.
The minister said that Islamabad to D.I.Khan Motorway, it was likely that the work would commence from D.I.Khan and ground breaking would take place in the first quarter of 2016.
Regarding the new industrial zones under CPEC, he said that it would be finalized by the Joint Working Group on industrial cooperation between China and Pakistan with mutual consent.
He said that in the 5th JCC held on November 12, 2015 in which decision was taken to establish the Joint Working Group.
However in accordance with the decision of APC held on May 28, a working group has been established with members from provinces to identify potential sites with economic feasibility.
Further, the Prime Minister has constituted a committee to identify the potential sites of industrial zones along western passage of CPEC under chairmanship of Chairman BOI which has also begun its work and Chief Secretary Balochistan has recommended five sites to this committee, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal said the sites included Turbat Industrial and Trading Estate, Industrial Estate Khuzdar, Dasht Industrial Zone near Quetta, Bostan Industrial Estate and Industrial Zone at the junction of Qila Saifullah, Zhob and Loralai.
He said that implementation work on Gwadar Free Zone had already begun and initial land for the Free Zone had been handed over to the Port Operator in a ceremony held on November 11.
The minister said that total land measuring 2281 acres had been acquired at the cost of Rs 6,691 million through federal government funding.