CPEC brings no development in Balochistan

CPEC brings no development in Balochistan

Karachi: The multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project in Balochistan province remains stagnant, revealed CPEC Cell established by the Balochistan government with the help of the World Bank.

CPEC cell noted that only development has been made near the Gwadar Port.

The Dawn quoted sources present at the meeting of the CPEC Cell with Balochistan cabinet that all projects connected with the western route have seen no progress whatsoever, and the overall size of the portfolio of CPEC”>CPEC projects in Balochistan is miniscule where less than 9 per cent of the total committed, is for the province and less than 1billion USD has been spent in four years.

The cabinet members described the CPEC spending so far as “a joke” and they slammed the previous government for its inaction.

In the energy sector, the cabinet was informed that the current shortfall of 700Mega Watt in the province means that all the new power injected into the grid as a result of CPEC”>CPEC power projects has not found its way to Balochistan and that Makran Division has still not been connected to the national grid, reported a Pakistani daily.

Two projects negotiated by the previous government – Quetta Mass Transit and PAT feeder to Quetta water project – will both be revisited by the new government.

“The debt and liabilities of both projects will be borne by the Government of Balochistan and the costs revealed in the feasibility are very high,” according to the source.

The Quetta Mass Transit cost, for example, is $912m which is larger than the total development budget of the provincial government.

The cost of land acquisition, displacement and resettlement and income tax and customs duties are not included in this figure.

Outside of Gwadar, the cabinet was informed that the roads of the western route have seen no progress, and more than half of the Balochistan component of the western route is still not officially part of the CPEC”>CPEC agenda.

Without the inclusion of these projects in the agenda of the Joint Working Group on Transport and Infrastructure, the projects are not eligible for concessionary financing from CPEC”>CPEC funding lines.

The federal government has committed to fund these from its development budget, but so far, the allocated funds have not been released despite a passage of three years.

The Dawn said the cabinet members were also annoyed that the Hoshab-Basima-Sorab section of the road has been shown as part of the western route by the federal government even though this project began in 2006 and is part of the common alignment.

The cabinet members agreed that the Balochistan government will take a bold and firm line for their province in the forthcoming Joint Cooperation Committee meeting scheduled to be held in Beijing next week.