Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform, and Ahsan Iqbal has said with ownership of provincial governments, all proposed nine industrial zones under China Pakistan Economic Corridor would be completed in a period of two to three years.

He expressed these views while answering in Senate’s questions hour. He informed that provincial governments have speeded up homework on implementation of these zones, planned to be set up under industrial cooperation between China and Pakistan, being introduced with successful implantation of projects in energy and transport infrastructure sector.

“To take advantage of Pakistan’s natural resources, economic zones will be established under CPEC, one each in all the four provinces, FATA, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and two by the Federal Government in Islamabad Capital Territory and Port Qasim at Karachi”.

The 6th Joint Cooperation Committee held last year, has approved nine special economic zones in principally, directing the joint work group on industry to ensure its speedy implementation. It is hoped that relocation of Chinese labour intensive industry would help in generating huge employment in Pakistan.

Minister said under this bilateral cooperation, industrial clusters would be set up from Gwadar to Chitral to use the natural resources. Similarly, government had executed its plan of utilizing untapped coal reserves in Thar, a black gold which has a capacity to produce power for 400 years. Minister further said with the help of technology in marble mining sector, a modern marble city would be established in Mohamand Agency, FATA.

Ahsan Iqbal said energy crisis in the country is going to end soon due to the effective and fast-track measures taken by the present government

“Government has made huge investment of the history in the energy sector to overcome shortage of electricity in the country and 10,000 megawatt of electricity will be added to the national grid from May 2017 to 2018?.  No such investment had been seen in energy generation and distribution sector for the last 15 years and only 16000 megawatt electricity production was made possible during 66 years, Minister added.

He hoped availability of uninterrupted power supply would lead to a new of era of development in industry, agriculture and services sectors.

Answering a question, Minister informed rail based mass transit systems are being established in all the four provinces under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He said Lahore Orange Line Metro Mass Transit Project, Greater Peshawar Region Mass Transit System, Karachi Circular Railway, and Quetta Mass Transit System are part of CPEC.

“Provincial governments are committed to ensure speedy implantation of these projects in provincial capitals, approved during 6th JCC” he remarked.      He further informed Quetta Water Supply Scheme will also be completed under CPEC. However, he reminded that around 10 billion rupees have been provided by Federal Government in past to resolve the drinking water problem in Quetta. “Today, there is no sign of investing this money.  Such wastages of resources surely lead to misgiving amongst local population”, Minister stated.

Minister informed the Senate that the government always facilitates timely completion of projects. He said that any delay in project implementation is pointed out to the sponsoring ministry to remove bottle necks and speed up project implementation. He said that responsibilities for transparent and timely implementation rest with the sponsoring ministry and if there are any irregularities or delays, these are explicitly communicated to the concerned quarters. He said that Planning Commission has ensured proper allocation of funds and better management of development projects to avoid delays. “Development projects were delayed for more than 10 years due such practices in past”. He said that the present government has completed a project of N85, whereas inauguration of Lawari Tunnel is expected soon. The project of Kachi Kanal would be completed soon.