Islamabad: Beijing is going to finance three more road projects under the umbrella of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. This latest development would raise the total contribution of China to Rs 1.025 trillion in the CPEC related road projects.

In a meeting held in China between the NHA chief and China officials last month, China agreed to finance the road projects as part of the second phase of CPEC. Kashif Zaman, the spokesman of National Highway Authority said that in addition to the Rs 917bn China has provided for three other road projects, it will provide a soft loan of Rs 107.76 billion for the three new road projects. The new routes fall on the western route of the corridor. They include a 280 kilometer road from Raikot to Thakot (Rs 80 bn), 210 kilometer dual carriageway from Yarik to Zhob (Rs 80 bn) and a 110 kilometer road from Basima to Khuzdar (Rs 19.76 bn).

Construction has already begun for the 144 km portion of Raikot-Thakot that was destroyed in the 2010 floods by the help of the Chinese grant. The remaining portion would be constructed by the additional 80 bn provided by the Chinese Government. The Yarik-Zhob route is being currently planned under NHA and it would be completed by 2020.

The overall progress and future plans under CPEC would be discussed by the two countries officials in the JCC meeting on December 29, 2016. Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal, NHA chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar and other senior government officials have already left for China. Mr Ahsan Iqbal from the Planning and Development Agency would also be holding a meeting with the Pakistan embassy officials before the JCC meeting.

A 650 km route has already been completed from Gwader to Surab on the western route of CPEC. The road from Burhan to D.I. Khan would be completed by 2018. Another two-lane road from D.I. Khan to Zhob has also been approved for construction. In a statement Mr Iqbal said, “It would help uplift the socio-economic lives of people living in the underdeveloped areas of Balochistan.”


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