Pakistan to get 3000km long roads under CPEC
by Tahir Ali
ISLAMABAD: Under the China Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Government of Pakistan has so far completed 567 kilometers of roads; works are underway for over 399 kilometers in length of two projects while 1,954.45 kilometers of roads are amongst future CPEC projects, according to Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21.
Pakistan’s Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin unveiled the Pakistan Economic Survey 2021 during a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday. CPEC’s connectivity projects are highlighted in chapter 13 of the survey under the title of “Transport and Communication”. To ensure smooth and efficient movement of goods and passengers, the Government of Pakistan plans to develop CPEC connecting Khunjerab to Gwadar, reads the document. CPEC, with its roads and railways network, will integrate Pakistan with all regional countries and generate much needed economic activity and the Corridor will be a strategic game-changer and would go a long way in strengthening our economy.
According to the survey, the completed projects include 57 kilometers long Burhan-Havelian (E-35) which was executed with a cost of Rs. 34,165 million. KKH Phase-II, Havelian-Thakot is another 118-kilometer project, which has been completed with a cost of Rs. 136,659 million. Similarly, Sukkur-Multan M-5, a 392-kilometer motorway is another project under CPEC, which was completed with an amount of Rs. 298,008 million.
The under-construction connecting projects include a 293-kilometer Motorway from Burhan Hakla on M-1 to Dera Ismail Khan with an estimated cost of 110,208.00 million. Construction of two Lane 106-kilometers long Highway from Basima to Khuzdar with an estimated cost of Rs. 19,188.44 million. Both the projects are expected to be complete in 2021.
The future connecting projects of CPEC include the dualization of Yarik–Sagu–Zhob including Zhob Bypass, Western Route. It is a 210-kilometer long project with an estimated cost of Rs. 76,486.23. Another project is Zhob to Kuchlak 305-kilometer long road under CPEC Western Corridor that would be completed with an estimated budget of Rs. 63,081.00 million. The 306-kilometer, Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M-6) will be completed with an estimated cost of Rs. 165,679.20 million. Similarly, the 396 km Gilgit-Shandur-Chitral Road Project (alternate route to KKH under CPEC) is another future project. Construction of the 146 km Hoshab- Awaran Section of M-8 with an estimated budget of Rs. 25,835.89 million; construction of 168-km Awaran–Naal Section of M-8 with Rs. 32,504 cost; the 250 km KKH Thakot-Raikot Section (realignment) and 200.45 km long Mangla–Mirpur–Muzaffarabad-Mansehra motorway.
According to the Economic Survey 2021, China Overseas Ports Holding Company Limited (COPHCL) has been working on improving port facilities and businesses and the surrounding environment of Gwadar. It has invested over $ 40 million for upgrading the port facilities, which are now fully operational and receiving commercial vessels on a regular basis. The Web-based One Customs (WeBOC) system is operational since 2019 and is playing a significant role in the early and efficient clearing of cargo.
For the early harvest/prioritized phase of Gwadar Port, Pakistan and China have agreed to execute different projects including the construction of East-Bay Expressway and Pak-China Technical & Vocational Institute. According to the documents, the 19-kilometer and six-lane Eastbay Expressway, a flagship project of CPEC, will connect Gwadar Port and its Free Zone with M-8 and Makran Coastal Highway. 14.7 km of the road is onshore while 4.3 km will be offshore. It will be a limited-access high-speed road meant for the use of heavy traffic fulfilling the cargo needs of the port. With 85 percent of the work already complete, the Expressway is expected to be fully operational by FY2022.
The completion of the Pak-China Technical & Vocational Institute is expected by December 2021. Similarly, the construction of Port Allied Structures (GPA Business Complex) on 69 acres of land has been completed.