Saturday May 28, 2022

KP remained part of CPEC Western Route meetings at federal level

January 13, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has been active part of continuous deliberations at the federal level on the western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its representatives have been discussing the establishment of special economic zones on the route, documents reveal.

Though KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak has been stating that he has not been consulted on CPEC but the official correspondence tells the other story. The KP representatives have been on board since day one of the CPEC meetings and even the KP chief minister was offered by the prime minister to accompany him on his visit to China which the CM refused, well-placed sources in the PM Office told The News.

The documents tell that the KP government’s representatives have been discussing establishment of at least seven special economic zones in the province with the federal government. Documents state that KP was represented in the first meeting of committee on western alignment of the CPEC held on December 9, 2015 by Mohsin M Syed, CEO KP Economic Zone Development and Management Company.

Not only this, the report of the meeting sent to the prime minister says that to identify the potential sites of future industrial zones alongside western route of the CPEC, the first meeting of the constituted committee was held on December 9, 2015 in BoI Islamabad under the chairmanship of MoS/chairman BoI. “The Board of Investment has sensitised the participants prior to the meeting that proposals of the establishment of Special Economic Zones in the provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa set up by the respective provincial governments needs to be formulated in line with the new alignment of the western route of the CPEC.

It was also emphasised that the availability of nearby raw materials, availability of utilities and the status of the land should be kept into consideration to make the proposed SEZs economically feasible and attractive for business.”  The report further reveals that the chairman NHA gave a detailed briefing on the alignment of western route passing through the two provinces. Representatives of Ministry of Planning emphasised the need to determine the agency to undertake the infrastructure development of each SEZ and the type of raw material available for use in a specific SEZ. The representatives of Ministry of Industries proposed the feasibility report on each SEZ needs to be prepared which would help in attracting investment in the SEZs. The proposal was accepted with consensus by the participants. Secretary, BoI proposed that in order to expedite the establishment of SEZs and to attract investment on fast track basis, these SEZs can be offered to the Chinese for development of infrastructure as a developed as provided in the SEZ Act.

“The chief secretary Balochistan and the representatives of KP government discussed their potential sites for industrial zones. The chief secretary Balochistan proposed five potential sites on the western route of the CPEC, while representative of KP government proposed seven sites. The KP government representative has informed that feasibility of their sites was conducted in the past. However, feasibility of Balochistan sites needs to be undertaken. The BoI offered to conduct these feasibility studies on receiving necessary funds from the Planning and Development Department. In addition to the Balochistan sites named in the appendix there is also the free zone at Gwadar for which land has already been handed over. This zone is not yet declared as a special economic zone,” the documents say. 

Official documents further reveal that the representatives of KP government have been discussing establishment and development of at least seven SEZs in the province that include Marble and Granite IE at Mansehra (80 acres); IE Nowshera at Karnal Sher Khan Interchange at M-1 (1,000 acres); Expansion of IE Hattar, Phase-VII (424 acres); IE Ghazi (Hattar-II) (90 acres); IE DI Khan (188 acres); IE at the border of Kohat and Karak (1,000 acre) and Industrial and Economic Zone Bannu (400 acre). 

In November last year, the PM Office documents stated that the ‘prime minister has been pleased to direct that: “DI Khan-Mughal Kot-Zhob Section (N-50), shall be upgraded to four-lane dual carriageway since the entire remaining alignment is being built on that. The NHA shall carry out negotiations for necessary funding for the upgradation with Asian Development Bank (ADB). Negotiations with ADB shall preferably be completed within one month's timeframe and in case required funding from ADB is not available, additional funding from PSDP will be provided as per requirement; 

Land acquisition for the entire western alignment of CPEC shall be for a six-lane, limited access motorway at this stage to ensure against any complications at a later stage; 

And the potential sites of future industrial zones along western route shall also be identified now. A committee comprising the following is constituted for this purpose: c, Board of Investment -- convener; chief secretary, KP; chief secretary Balochistan; chairman NHA; representative of Finance Division (not less than BS-21) and representative of Ministry of Industries and Production.”