ISLAMABAD   -   National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) is likely to issue tariff determination for the 300 MW coal power plant at Gwadar by the end of May. Progress on 300 MW coal based power plant at Gwadar was discussed here during CPEC project review meeting. The meeting was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning,

Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar and was attended by Chinese ambassador Yao Jing and senior officials from both sides were also present in the meeting. During the meeting, projects of Orange Line, Eastbay Expressway, 300 MW coal based power plant at Gawadr and Kohala Hydropower were deliberated upon.

The construction of Eastbay Expressway was also discussed in the meeting and it was informed that all the outstanding issues related with the project has been resolved. The demand of the fishermen to construct three bridges of 100 feet width was also accepted.

The process of land acquisition has been completed. After meeting the demand of the fishermen the cost of the project will be increased by approximately Rs 1.5 billion, official source told The Nation. The source said that it has also been decided to get interest free loan from China for the project. The meeting was informed that new PC-I of the project will be submitted for the CDWP approval soon, said the source.

The Construction of Eastbay Expressway is the main artery of Gwadar Port through which the entire traffic of port will flow. The estimated cost of the project is $168 million and its objective is providing primary connectivity of the Port & its Free Zone with the network of national highways.

Currently, Gwadar Deep-Sea Port is connected through a narrow 16 feet wide thoroughfare of Gwadar town at the West-Bay. All the trawlers/trucks loaded with imported shipments pass through this strip causing disruption of normal traffic.

The port has not a dedicated wide highway to cater the transporting requirements of the post. The port operationalization, even with the available 3 multi-purpose berths, necessitates construction of the planned East-Bay expressway.

This 6-lane expressway along with a provision of 30 meters wide railway corridor shall connect the port with the Mekran Coastal Highway (N-20) through the 2300 acres Free Trade Zone of Gwadar Port.

Regarding coal power plant, the meeting was informed that delay in tariff determination by NEPRA for 300 MW coal based power plant at Gwadar is the main hurdle in starting the work on the project, official source said.

The meeting discussed the progress on the Gwadar coal based power plant and it was informed that NEPRA is likely to issue tariff determination for the project by the end of current month. Work on the project will be started as soon it gets tariff determination from NEPRA. Regarding orange line train project it was informed that issues related to electricity, sewerage will be resolved by the mid June, said the source. On Kohala hydropower plant the meeting was informed that work on the land acquisition has already started.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Ministry of Planning said that Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforma Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar has said that the incumbent Government is committed to accelerate implementation of CPEC projects and set timelines for authorities concerned for resolving all the pending issues related to the projects.

During the meeting, projects of Orange Line, Eastbay Expressway, 300 MW coal based power plant at Gawadr and Kohala Hydropower were deliberated upon. Each project was discussed and scrutinized in detail and majority of the issues were resolved instantly. For remaining pending issues, the Minister directed the authorities concerned to resolve them within strict timelines and progress be reported on monthly basis.

Talking about Eastbay Expressway, the minister said that the demand of local fishermen at Gwadar has been accepted and all efforts will be made to ensure timely completion of this project of national importance.

The minister said that the government is committed to development of Gwadar adding that provision of electricity and clean drinking water to Gwadar is top most priority and all efforts will be made to expedite the start of 300 MW coal based power plant.

Khusro Bakhtyar noted that CPEC is progressing in the right direction and the present government has expanded its scope in consultation with Chinese Government to focus on industrialization, agriculture cooperation and socio-economic development.

The Chinese ambassador appreciated the commitment of Government of Pakistan for resolving all pending issues and fast tracking the CPEC projects. He also appreciated the new issue based progress review mechanism for effective scrutiny and monitoring of progress on CPEC projects.