Islamabad - Federal Minister for Planning Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday that the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project has been approved as the CPEC project while similar projects for Quetta and Peshawar will be assessed upon receiving technical feasibility reports. 

“Agriculture, poverty alleviation, tourism and culture and improvement in people’s livelihood had been added in the CPEC long-term plan to ensure the wellbeing of local communities,” said Iqbal while briefing the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC on the long-term plan (LTP) of the mega project which has been agreed upon by both Pakistan and China at the last meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) held on November 21.

The Parliamentary Committee on CPEC met here under the chair of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed. 

The planning minister said that the LTP was approved after an 18-month long consultation process and it was shared with all provinces for endorsement before sending it to China and now it was an official document of the CPEC.

Iqbal said that agricultural research would be undertaken so that agricultural products could be value-added with modern technology from China.

  Since Chinese tourists are increasing in large number, it was decided to promote tourism projects with the building of tourist resorts on the Makran coast and there will be also an encouragement for people to people exchanges between Pakistan and China within the framework of culture and education.

In January 2018, a delegation exporters would go to China to enhance Pakistan’s export potential, the minister said. During the current JCC meeting, the minister said, that all the chief ministers were present as well as representatives of chambers of commerce and industry. 

He also said that the groundbreaking of Gwadar International Airport will be held in March 2018.  The meeting was informed that media reports about shelving three infrastructure projects were not correct, rather, the Chinese side was reviewing the financial mechanism of these projects and these would be started upon receipt of approval from the Chinese side. 

The parliamentary committee was also briefed by the Ministry of Power regarding the early harvest energy projects.  The Thar coal project would be operational by June 2019, the Port Qasim power project would be completed by February 2018 while other projects including the Hubco 1320 MW project and two hydropower projects in Sukki Kinari (870 MW) and Karot (720 MW) were proceeding for completion ahead scheduled, the committee was told.

The meeting was also attended by lawmakers Lt-Gen. (retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi,  Rana Muhammad Afzal, Isphanyar M Bhandara, Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, Asad Umar, Sheikh Salahuddin, Alhaj Shahji Gul Afridi and officials of different ministries and departments.