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Peshawar

April 25, 2016

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China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

No dry port, industrial or mineral processing zones for Abbottabad

ABBOTTABAD: Hazara in general and Abbottabad in particular have been ignored as far as setting up of economic or industrial parks or mineral processing zones in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is concerned.

Abbottabad district is the gateway to Gilgit-Baltistan and China. The Karakoram Highway (KKH) also starts from Ayub Bridge, Havelian. Many people presume wrongly however, that KKH starts from Hassanabdal. In fact, the main road from Hassanabdal to Havelian is Shahrah-e-Hazara which is often referred to as GT Road.

According to information gathered by this scribe, there are 29 industrial parks and 21 processing zones proposed for the CPEC.  Out of 29 industrial parks, nine are proposed to be constructed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and eight mineral processing zones would be established in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Sites proposed for industrial parks in KP are: Hattar, Gadoon, Ghazi, Dera Ismail Khan, Jalozai, Nowshera, Bannu, Chitral and Risalpur.Those for the mineral processing zones include Dargai (chromite), Chitral (antimony), Bisham (iron ore), North Waziristan (chromite), South Waziristan (copper), Kurram Agency (antimony) and Mohmand Agency (marble).

Hattar and Gadoon are already established industrial estates situated in Haripur (Hazara) and Swabi, respectively. In fact there is only one new proposed industrial park in Ghazi, Haripur.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during the groundbreaking ceremony of Hazara Motorway project on Nov 29, 2014 had announced to construct a dry port at Havelian, This was later shifted to Baldher, Haripur due to political reasons.

The dry port was the only project Abbottabad district was going to get out of the CPEC. The Hazara Motorway (M-35 converted from 6-lane motorway to 4-lane fenced expressway E-35) is a 59 kilometres long highway from Burhan to Havelian. From Havelian to Shinkiari, Mansehra is called phase-2 of this Expressway which is 51 kilometres long.  The work on phase-1 is in full progress and phase-2 is awaiting inauguration.

The E-35 starts from Burhan and culminates at Havelian. While bypassing Abbottabad town and its surroundings, E-35 passing through lower Tanawal area ends at Shinkiari. Despite being the gateway to China, Abbottabad is left out of the fruits of CPEC.

Not a single industrial park or dry port or mineral processing zone was proposed for this district in spite of the fact that lower Tanawal area has huge deposits of soapstone and mining business is thriving in this area. Mangal and Tarnawai areas have huge phosphate deposits and some of the multinationals are extracting this precious mineral. Both soapstone and phosphate is transported down the country as raw material for further processing.

Similarly, no mineral processing zone was proposed for Mansehra district. Mansehra in general and tehsil Oghi in particular have one of the largest black granite and marble deposits in Asia.These are explored, extracted and transported for finishing and polishing to other parts of the country.  Yet the planners of CPEC failed to propose establishment of a single mineral processing zone in Abbottabad or Mansehra perhaps due to political compulsions.

 

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