Ahsan Iqbal wants three connectivity projects in the next JCC

By Tahir Ali | Gwadar Pro May 21, 2022

ISLAMABAD, May 21 (Gwadar Pro)- The Government of Pakistan plans to include three mega connectivity projects during the upcoming meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The three projects include Mansehra-Muzaffarabad Expressway, Babusar Tunnel, and Zhob-D.I. Khan Highway. “There three projects should be taken up on priority for inclusion in the upcoming JCC,” Minister of Planning Development and Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal ordered authorities concerned on Friday. He was chairing a preparatory meeting on a joint working group (JWG) on Transport Infrastructure, which was attended by officials from CPEC Authority, National Highway Authority (NHA), Gwadar Port Authority, and Pakistan Railways.

Last month, NHA recommended PC-1 for the construction of Mansehra-Muzaffarabad (a link of CPEC) to Executive Committee of National Economic Council (CNEC) for consideration. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 44.72 billion.  

Zhob-D.I. Khan (N-50) Phase one is another project which, according to Ahsan Iqbal, would be recommended during the upcoming JCC meeting. Under the project, the current 210 km long 2-lane road would be improved and upgraded to four lanes. PC-1 of the project was approved by ECNEC in 2017. Extra land will also be acquired to upgrade the road to 6-lane in the future.

Babusar Top Tunnel is another important connectivity project, which will connect Kaghan Valley with Chilas, Gilgit Baltistan. The project is aimed to facilitate locals as well as boost tourism in the region. The underground tunnel will even enable people to reach the areas in harsh winter weather.

Professor Ahsan Iqbal also asked Railways authorities to speed up the processing of the ML-1 project and to evaluate the cost of the 250 km/hour track for future viability. He emphasized that laying down the Fiber optic cable project should be integrated within ML-1 to economize the project. The Minister said that Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) is another important mass transit project which should be executed on the same model as Orange Line in Lahore.

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