APP99-04 ISLAMABAD: January 04 - Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal talking to press in Planning Commission. APP

ISLAMABAD, Jan 4 (APP): Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal Wednesday said the 6th Joint Coordination Committee of China Pakistan Corridor (CPEC) agreed to start work on a 300 coal based power plant in the city before March 31 to meet electricity demand in Gwadar city.
The project to be completed in two and half years would not only meet
growing electricity demand but would also help in operationalizing water desalination plant to purify five million water per day, he said while addressing a press conference here.
The minister said the JCC held on December 29 in Beijing also agreed in principle to start work on a water desalination plant and its completion would be interconnected with the power plant as it would need a huge amount of electricity.
Responding to a qeustion, he said Gwadar city would be built according to the master plan.
The minister said the 6th JCC meeting was a major success in transferring the CPEC projects into the next phase.
He said the participation of chief ministers of all provinces in the meeting sent a strong message to the world that the whole Pakistani nation was united on successful completion of CPEC.
He said the participation of chief ministgers also helped in including a number of new projects in the CPEC framework which would help in transforming lifestyles of people living in far flung areas of the country.
He said it was also agreed in the meeting to finalize the long term plan of CPEC by March 31.
“The $51 billion CPEC project has now become the largest portfolio of the region in which a number of projects relating to energy, infrastructure, tourism, agriculture and socio-economic development have been included”, he added.
He said by next year over 5,000 MW power projects under CPEC would be completed and electricity would be added to the national grid.
The minister said under CPEC, a project of establishing new transmission line from Faisalabad to Lahore and to Matiari had also been accorded approval.
The minister said the JCC also approved rail based mass transit projects in all four provincial capitals including Greater Peshawar Mass Transit, Karachi Circular Railway and Quetta Mass Transit while Orange Line Lahore project had already been included in the CPEC framework.
He said all four provinces had proposed inclusion of some new projects in the CPEC which were accepted by both sides.
Ahsan Iqbal said the JCC also gave approval for establishment of nine new industrial zones in different parts of the country including one each in all provinces.
To a question, the minister said China had expressed ita satisfaction over forming of new security force for CPEC.
He said along Indus river, a number of new hydal projects would be started to meet the growing energy needs in the country.
He said the prime minister had directed to start work on two power projects in Gilgit-Baltistan to end energy crisis in the area.
He said it was also agreed in the meeting to start work in Eastbay Expressway and an international airport in Gwadar by first quarter of current year.
The meeting also accorded approval to the $8 billion project of upgrading ML-1 Peshawar-Karachi railway track, he added.
He said the both sides also agreed to enhance people to people contact and jointly make feature films and dramas in order to enhance understanding of each others’ culture.