ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary committee was yesterday informed that there was no proposal under consideration for establishment of an authority, under the supervision of army, to oversee the projects being completed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“The Planning Ministry will stay the facilitator of the CPEC project and federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal had already made it clear that there is no need for establishment of any new authority to oversee the projects being completed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Additional Secretary Ministry for Planning Zafar Hassan said this while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning Development and Reforms.

The Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms met here under Chairmanship of Abdul Majeed Khan Khanan Khail, MNA, to discuss CPEC/PSDP projects initiated for the development of Gwadar. Official of the Civil Aviation informed the committee that work on the Gwadar airport will be started by September.

Majority members of the standing committee was united on the stance that the government should bring all the projects of CPEC under one umbrella. “All the projects should be under one umbrella so the ownership of the projects and pace of work should not effect,” these members said.  Every ministry is working independently so why not to bring it under one control, chairman of the committee asked the Planning Ministry.

Briefing about the corridor projects, CPEC Project Director Zahir Shah informed the committee that according the plan there will be two lanes and four lanes roads on the western route while eastern route will be a motorway. However, he said that land for six lanes will be acquired for the western route, as the traffic volume increases, the width of the road will also be increased accordingly. He further informed the committees that work on Gwadar Free Port will be inaugurated next month.

Zahir Shah said that railway track ML1 from Karachi to Peshawar was also being upgraded step by step which would help increasing the speed up to 160 kilometers per hour.

When asked whether it is true that the government is making new authority, under supervision of Army, to oversee CPEC projects, additional Secretary planning ruled out establishing any new authority. He said that a joint coordination committee having representatives of all stakeholder holds its meeting on fortnightly basis to establish coordination for executing the projects under CPEC.

“The Planning Ministry is playing role of a facilitator in CPEC projects and they are no proposal to relieve the position,” he said and adding that the concerned ministries and departments were responsible to execute the projects and they are coordinating with the Planning Ministry.

MNA Junaid Akber asked PD CPEC that who is responsible for the slow pace of work CPEC project, is it you or the Planning Ministry? He further asked that is there any plan of making new board for the CPEC projects as currently there seems lack of coordination between the departments.

Project Director CPEC said that it is wrong to say that the pace of work is slow on the CPEC. Chairman of the committee asked who will own the project once it’s completed. Advisor to the Planning Ministry responded that once the project related to Gwadar completes then it will be decided what to do. 

Project Director CPEC said that Gwadar Port will be fully operationalised in 2030 and it will generate upto one million jobs. Gwadar port has been given to China for 40 years from 2007, he added.

Officials of the National Highway Authority informed the committee that by December 2016, Gwadar city would be connected by road with Quetta, Khuzdar, Ratodero and Sukkur.

MNA Iftikhar-ud-Din said: “I don’t see any hydroelectric power project materialising in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” The government should make plan to cover most of the 20 districts of KP under the CPEC as currently only four districts are being touched by the corridor.

The Committee also showed concern over the mushroom growth of housing societies in Gwadar and recommended that no more NOCs should be issued by the Government of Balochistan for housing schemes at Gwadar. The additional secretary Planning informed the Committee that the (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Amendment Bill, 2010) would be vetted and finalised within 20 days by the Ministry of Law & Justice.

Furthermore, the new site has been allotted and payment made to Deputy Commissioner Gwadar for the construction of 132KV (AIS) Grid Station at Deep Sea Gwadar port and the associated 132KV D/C transmission line.

MNAs Syed Muhammad Athar Hussain Shah Gillani, Dr Abdullah, Shaheen Shafiq, Shazia Farid, Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari, Shamas-un-Nisa, Junaid Akbar, Qaiser Jamal, Sheikh Salahuddin, Asyia Nasir, Sher Akber Khan and Iftikhar-ud-Din attended the meeting.