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ECNEC approves dualisation of key western CPEC route

By Mehtab Haider
March 29, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Thursday approved the construction of western route project for dualisation of Kuchlak-Zhob section of N-50 from two to four lanes along with the acquisition of land for the scheme at a total estimated cost of Rs78.98 billion.

A finance ministry statement said the meeting held under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Asad Umar also approved different projects in communications and power sectors.

In their presentation, Planning Division officials said the dualisation of Western Alignment of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) - Kuchlak-Zhob section N-50 (305-KMs), would significantly benefit the people of Zhob, Kuchlak, Muslim Bagh, Pashin as well as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The statement said the meeting approved that land acquisition cost of the project that would be met from the savings of Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), and no new allocation would be required in this regard.

In order to quickly and timely respond to accidents and mishaps on the Corridor, the Committee approved a proposal of Ministry of Communications to set up an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS).

The meeting also approved a proposal to build service areas along the western corridor on 'Built-up Property' basis.

The Committee also accorded approval to the proposal of Power Division to interconnect isolated areas of Gwadar and Makran with the national grid system of Pakistan, while directing Planning and Power Divisions to review the proposed financial structure of the project.

For the dualisation of existing two lane Kuchlak-Zhob section of N-50 to four lanes and acquisition of land, the Planning Commission told the ECNEC that this project would be completed in 36 months till July 2022 including acquisition of 41,522 kanal of land with estimated cost of Rs11.342 billion and dualisation of N-50 section from two to four lane with cost of Rs67.638 billion.

The government also granted approval for connection of Gwadar with national grid with estimated cost of Rs17.421 billion provided the rationalisation of cost by the Member Energy and endorsement of the scope of the project by National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC).

The PC-1 of the project envisages dualisation/up-gradation of existing two-lane 305 km length of Zhob- Kuchlak section of N-50 to 4-lane facility.

The National Highway N-50 starts from Kuchlak to north of Quetta and runs east via the urban areas of Muslim Bagh, Qila Saifullah, Zhob, and Mughal Kot ending at an intersection with the Indus highway near Dera Ismail Khan. The project has been divided into five packages including Kuchlak to Kanozai having a length of 55 km, Kanozai to Nasai 65 km, Nasai to Qila Saifullah 50 km, Qila Saifullah to Tangi 65 km and Tangi to Zhob 70 km.