KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday said that his government was keen to start a number of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with Karachi Circular Railway, Dhabeji Special Economic Zone and Keti Bandar Deep-Sea Port as a top priority of the provincial administration. He expressed the hope that the federal government would support him to launch these mega schemes.
He stated this while talking to a 22-member federal parliamentary committee on CPEC led by MNA Sher Ali Arbab which called on him at the CM House in line with his first of four meetings to evolve consensus for the CPEC-related projects to be launched in Sindh. The next two meetings of the committee would be held in Gwadar on Jan 21 and 22 and the final one is scheduled for Jan 23 in Pasni.
A statement issued by the CM House said the CM Shah told the committee about his government which shared 29 projects in areas of education, technical and vocational education and training, health, poverty alleviation, clean drinking water, agriculture livestock and fisheries.
Chairman of the CPEC parliamentary committee Mr Arbab said that from the shared projects of all provinces, 27 projects were identified as priority projects and of these, 17 schemes were identified as fast-track projects. Two of these schemes were in agriculture, two in education, one in health, and two in technical and vocational education and training.
The two fast-track agriculture projects include China-Pakistan Joint Agriculture Technology Laboratory and China-Pakistan Joint Agriculture Demonstration Stations, added the statement.
The chief minister said that for Sindh’s projects in agriculture, Chinese experts visited Sindh on Dec 15, 2019 to discuss agriculture schemes and to carry out field visits. The Sindh government was asked to give concurrence for the agriculture projects, which was given on Jan 10, Mr Shah said and added that progress on the remaining five fast-track projects of Sindh was waiting for visits of the Chinese.
CM Shah said that project preparation would commence after their visit. They include smart classrooms for education, overseas student scholarship programme, provision of medical equipment and supply for hospital(s), vocational and technical schools upgrades and vocational and technical teachers’ capacity building.
The chief minister said that overall there were three projects included in CPEC for Sindh. They were the KCR, Dhabeji Special Economic Zone and Keti Bandar Deep-Sea Port.
Talking about the KCR, Murad Ali Shah said that on a request of the Sindh government, the project was included in CPEC in December 2016; alongside Sindh government’s request for the provision of sovereign guarantee to the KCR, as was accorded to the Orange Line Lahore project, handing over the Karachi Urban Transport Company (KUTC) to the Sindh government, transfer of land along the KCR route alignment to the KUTC.
Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2020