Rs38bn cross-border optic fibre project under CPEC cleared

Published December 3, 2020
The objective of the project is to provide alternate path for international connectivity through Northern border of Pakistan. — Reuters
The objective of the project is to provide alternate path for international connectivity through Northern border of Pakistan. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Central Develo­pment Working Party (CDWP) on Wednesday cleared five development projects at a cumulative cost of about Rs54 billion including Rs38bn second phase of a project for laying cross-border optic fibre cable with China.

At a meeting presided over by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, the CDWP itself approved four development projects with cumulative estimated cost of Rs16bn and referred for approval to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) the Rs37.91bn Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) Project along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Route (Khunjrab-Gwadar-Karachi).

The objective of the project is to provide alternate path for international connectivity through Northern border of Pakistan with China and ensure continuous uninterrupted connectivity between Northern and Southern borders of the country by establishing multiple rings for secure and uninterrupted communication network etc.

CDWP also approves four more projects costing Rs16bn

Under the financial rules in vogue, the CDWP is empowered to itself approve projects costing no more than Rs10bn while projects of higher estimated costs are approved by Ecnec once the CDWP clears them on technical grounds.

The meeting also agreed 50:50 sharing of Covid-19 Responsive and Other Natural Calamities Control Programme with provinces. The project had already been cleared but financing shares remained unsettled. The federal share of the project would now be Rs70bn.

The CDWP agreed with the recommendations of the committee for the project titled “Covid-19 Responsive and Other Natural Calamities Control Programme” worth Rs70bn with proposed changes. The PC-1 of this project will facilitate the national programme to improve facilities at 50:50 basis financial supports to all the provinces in district and tehsil headquarters level hospitals, public health surveillance separately for both human and animals, National Programme for Water Sanitation and Hygiene and Improvement in local infrastructure. AJK and GB will also be covered under the project financing.

The meeting approved a project related to Physical Planning & Housing titled “Construction of Islamabad High Court Building at Islamabad (Revised)” worth Rs4.989bn. It involves construction of Islamabad High Court on an already acquired plot measuring 220,000 sq.ft at sector G-5, Islamabad. The scope of works includes: construction of courts, auditorium, car parking, road & paths, plumbing works and wood works etc.

Two projects related to education were presented to the committee. First project namely “Support to Basic Education Development Project AJ&K” worth Rs5.97bn and second project titled “Basic Education for All Project AJ&K” worth Rs1.58bn were approved by the CDWP.

The meeting also approved a Rs3.482bn worth of project namely “Establishment of National Aerospace Science & Technology Park”.

Two Position Papers related to Industries and Commerce were also approved in the meeting. These included “Establishment of Hub Special Economic Zone” worth Rs2.288bn and “Remodeling and Expansion of Karachi Expo Center” at a cost of Rs2.677bn.

Another Position Paper related to water resources namely Nai Gaj Dam with an estimated cost of Rs46.555bn was also approved. The project envisaged construction of 194 ft high central core earth fill dam with a gross storage capacity of 0.30 million acre-feet and live storage of 0.16 MAF to irrigate 28,800 acres.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2020

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