Projects underway to extend benefits of CPEC to entire Dera region: KP minister

By Khalid Aziz | Gwadar Pro Aug 25, 2021

Islamabad (August 24): As the Dera Ismail Khan district of KP province is emerging as a new regional connectivity hub under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the provincial government is pursuing several projects to extend the benefits of this mega initiative to the whole region.

This was stated by KP cabinet member Ali Amin Khan Gandapur while talking to Gwadar Pro about projects in agriculture, roads, industry and other sectors in the Dera region to fully tap the benefits of CPEC.

The near-completion M-14 motorway of CPEC’s western corridor culminates at D.I. Khan district. Located at the confluence of three provinces of Pakistan, it also connects Afghanistan via two border crossings in the South and North Waziristan districts. The Waziristan districts are famous for scenic beauty as well as best-quality pine nuts, apples and other fruits. The region has over 3 million acres of fertile land but only 0.9 million acres are under irrigation.

“We are focusing on agriculture and livestock to complement the goals of the second phase of CPEC,” the minister said. We welcome Chinese firms to build small dams in the area on a BOT basis to irrigate over 350,000 acres of land in the Tank and Dera districts. We also expect the inclusion of the CRBC Lift Canal in CPEC to irrigate another 350,000 acres of land. In total, around 2 million acres of fertile land is still to be irrigated in the region, he said.

Moreover, the KP government is establishing a disease-free zone for livestock in the region, as envisaged under CPEC, and a modern unit for processing dates. “We’re also strengthening research centres in 5 districts around D.I. Khan to prepare this region for agricultural revolution under CPEC,” he said.

Regarding connectivity, the minister said that the KP government has started acquiring land for the second portion of M-14 from Dera to Zhob district of Balochistan. The motorway will lead to Gwadar and Karachi. Also, the Rs3.75 billion project to connect Sheikh Badin National Park with CPEC is in full swing, he said. The minister said that the scenic valleys of the South and North Waziristan districts are already linked with the CPEC route. The government has also launched a project to develop a national park in the beautiful Sulemankhel mountains bordering Afghanistan and link the same with CPEC. These projects will boost eco-tourism as well as trade activities in the region, he said.

The minister said that the KP government had also handed over land for an industrial estate in the Draban area of the district to KP Economic Zones Development and Management Co., adding that development works will start soon. It has the potential to attract investors due to its proximity with Afghanistan and Central Asian states, he said.

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