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Senate panel concerned over slow pace of work on CPEC’s western route

Senate panel concerned over slow pace of work on CPEC’s western route

ISLAMABAD: The alleged lack of transparency and discrimination towards small and backward provinces in the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project again echoed at the meeting of a Senate committee here on Monday with demands from parliamentarians that the misgivings be removed.

The committee noted that the western route of the CPEC was being continuously ignored despite repeated protests by parliamentarians for long.

The Senate Standing Committee on Communications held the meeting at the Parliament House which was presided over by its Chairman Senator Daud Khan Achakzai.

The chairman regretted that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain had made assurances that the western part of the grand project would be built on a priority basis, but those promises had not translated into action.

“The route from D.I. Khan to Suhrab is not likely to be completed even by 2050 if the non-serious attitude of the present government continues as it is now. Facts are being hidden today, but their bad impact will fall on the whole country in future,” he warned.

Mr Achakzai said an amount of Rs56 billion had been estimated for the cost of land acquisition for the western route but the amount had not been included in the budget of the NHA. Similarly, the ministries for finance and planning were totally ignorant about it, he added.

The chairman urged the government to ask the chief secretaries of Balochistan and KP to initiate the process of land acquisition and said its report should be produced in the next meeting of the committee scheduled for Aug 15.

The NHA chairman said that the construction plan of the CPEC had been divided into four categories: immediate basis and short-term, mid-term and long-term basis.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2016

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