Balochistan wants rail-based projects under CPEC


QUETTA:Government of Balochistan requests Federal Ministry of Communication, Islamabad for inclusion of Balochistan-based-rail-project in CPEC.

A letter of Planning and Development Department, Government of Balochistan addressed to Secretary, Ministry of Communication, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad states, “The 10th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is likely to be held in the last quarter of 2020. The Government of Balochistan appreciates the progress being made with regards to CPEC projects, especially the inclusion of ML-1 project as a deliverable for the upcoming JCC meeting.

“The Early Harvest Phase of CPEC has come to an end. During this phase, not even a single infrastructure project in Balochistan was completed through financing from CPEC. Construction work on the eastern alignment of CPEC is nearly complete. In contrast, progress on the western alignment of CPEC in Balochistan is negligible.

“According to the Monographic Study on Transport Planning (2015-30)- which was conducted jointly by the Government of Pakistan and approved by the 5th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) in 2015, the nearly 750-KM long N-50 road from Surab to Dera Ismail Khan via Quetta and Zhob was supposed to be upgraded into a four-lane highway by 2020.

“Now that the focus is shifting from upgradation of roads to railways and industrial development, the Balochistan province is being ignored again.

“The Pakistan Railway Mainline-I (ML-I) project was recently approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) at a cost of $ 6.806 Billion (equal to rupees 11.44 trillion) for implementation under the umbrella of CPEC.

“According to the Monographic Study on Transport Planning (2015-30), the following rail projects were supposed to be undertaken in Balochistan in the medium and long- term phase (2021-2030 of CPEC (i) Construction of a railway line from Gwadar to Sukkur via Khuzdar and Jacobabad (ii) Construction of a railway line from Gwadar to Quetta via Besima (iii) Construction of a railway line from Quetta to Kotla-Jam via Zhob and Dera Ismail Khan.

“Feasibility studies for these rail projects were conducted by the Federal Ministry of Railways over the past couple of years.

‘The Government of Balochistan sought update on the status of these studies both in the meetings of Joint Working Group on Transport Infrastructure as well as through a formal letter addressed to the Federal Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives (MPDSI) (Reference No. P and D-CPEC/2018-L-36, dated 31st October, 2019).

“The Government of Balochistan hereby formally proposes the inclusion of the following projects for consideration and approval in the Joint Working Group on Transport Infrastructure; (i) Railway Line from Gwadar to Sukkur via Khuzdar and Jacobabad (ii) Railway Line from Gwadar to Quetta via Besima.

“The Chair of the Joint Working on Transport Infrastructure is kindly requested to recommend inclusion of the above mentioned rail projects in the agenda of the upcoming JCC meeting. These projects will significantly improve connectivity of Gwadar with markets and enhance the port’s commercial viability.”

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