Islamabad    -   The fate of around 50 employees of CPEC Support Project hangs in balance as the government is all set to move a summary regarding establishment of a CPEC authority to the Cabinet.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Ministry of Planning to expedite process of establishment of CPEC authority and a summary in this regard will be moved to Cabinet Committee on CPEC on Monday, official source told The Nation here.

However news of establishment of authority has created panic among already working employees of the CPEC Support Project as they are unclear about their future. Majority of the CPEC Support Project staff are on contract basis and have served under the Ministry for Planning, Development and Reforms for around four years and now they are clueless where to go, said the source.

The source said that project director CPEC Support Project had resigned from his post and the acting charge of the PD had been given to Waqar Hassan, Additional Secretary MPD&R.

There are around 50 employees working in CPEC Support Project and the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms is unlikely to give them full one year extension, said the source. The CPEC Support Project staff includes officers and support staff.

It is pertinent to mention here that in May this year three of CPEC projects, including Centre of Excellence for CPEC, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Support Project and Pak-China Friendly Exchanges Project were merged into one project. The total number of employees working in these projects is 50 and the total cost of the CPEC Support Project is Rs 2618.021 million. The CPEC Support Project was supposed to be completed in 2024 and its employees were getting extension for one year, however now the government has decided that instead of one year these employees will get extension on monthly basis till establishment of the CPEC authority. The aim of revised project was to merge the existing three projects to reduce the operational expenditure and to develop synergy on CPEC-related issues. Under the proposed project two wings were created i.e. Coordination and Research Wing. After only two months of the merger, the government decided to establish CPEC authority and now fate of these employees hangs in balance.

According to source under the Establishment Division rules, these CPEC support projects’ current employees have to apply afresh for appointment in CPEC authority and will have to qualify examination. However these employees will be having an edge over other applicants and will have age relaxation and one additional point for each year they have spent in the CPEC secretariat. These employees can have maximum of five points which the new applicants will not have, said the source.

The second way out for these employee is that the Cabinet in its decision allows these employees absorption in the CPEC Authority, the source added.