ISLAMABAD – The government plans to include three mega connectivity projects during the upcoming meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which would trigger economic activities in Pakistan, according to a report by Gwadar Pro.
These three projects include Mansehra-Muzaffarabad Expressway, Babusar Tunnel, and Zhob-D I Khan Highway. “These three projects should be taken up on priority for inclusion in the upcoming JCC,” Minister of Planning Development and Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal issued directives to his ministry officials. He was chairing a preparatory meeting on a joint working group (JWG) on Transport Infrastructure, which was attended by officials from CPEC Authority, National Highway Authority (NHA), Gwadar Port Authority, and Pakistan Railways.
Last month, NHA had recommended PC-1 for the construction of Mansehra-Muzaffarabad (a link of CPEC) to Executive Committee of National Economic Council (CNEC) for consideration. The estimated cost of the project is Rs44.72 billion.
Zhob-D I Khan (N-50) Phase one is another project which, according to Ahsan Iqbal, would be recommended during the upcoming JCC meeting. Under the project, the current 210km long 2-lane road would be improved and upgraded to four lanes. PC-1 of the project was approved by ECNEC in 2017. Extra land will also be acquired to upgrade the road to 6-lane in the future.
The Babusar Top Tunnel is another important connectivity project, which will connect Kaghan Valley with Chilas, Gilgit-Baltistan. The project is aimed to facilitate locals as well as boost tourism in the region. The underground tunnel will even enable people to reach the areas in harsh winter weather.
Ahsan Iqbal also asked railways authorities to speed up the processing of the ML-1 project and to evaluate the cost of the 250km/hour track for future viability. He emphasised that laying down the fibre optic cable project should be integrated within ML-1 to economise the project.
The minister said that Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) is another important mass transit project which should be executed on the same model as Orange Line in Lahore.