ISLAMABAD-The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has cleared four development projects worth Rs126.2 billion; however, it has deferred the approval of the Karachi Green Line Bus project.
The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) that met under the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Dr Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, has recommended New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) at the escalated cost of Rs60.208b to ECNEC for further consideration.
The forum has recommended Thar Coal Rail Connectivity Project with existing Railway Network including last mile connectivity with Port Qasim worth Rs55.97 billion to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC). The Ministry of Railway is the sponsoring agency of the project. The main objective of the project is to connect Thar Coal Mines and Port Qasim with Railway through New Rail Links and is aligned with sectoral objectives of the Vision 2025 by providing bulk transportation facilities according to the requirement of the growing economy. The project envisages construction of 105-kilometre long new single line Railway Track infrastructure from Thar Coal Mines to New Chhor Station and construction of 18-kilometre long Double Line Track which includes 4.20-kilometre-long loop lines from Bin Qasim to Port Qasim.
The project has been designed to provide reliable and efficient railway infrastructure to break the geographical barriers of Thar Coal and enable its transportation across the country and to provide an environmentally friendly mode of coal transportation. If transported through railway, the environmental pollution will be minimal besides reducing traffic congestion on roads.
The project to enable utilisation of indigenous Thar Coal to bring import bill in line with the pillar of Pakistan Vision 2025 and enable expansion of Thar Coal to rationalise fuel cost thus bringing reduction in the cost of production of electricity besides ensuring uplift of local populace of Tharparkar through generation of royalty and job creation.
The coal demand in Pakistan is mainly driven by two major sectors, i.e. Power Sector and Cement industry. The demand of coal will further increase due to upcoming capacity additions in both the power and cement sector. With successful commercial operation of indigenous coal power plants in Thar Coal fields, it is imperative that growing coal demand should be met through Thar Coal to displace imported coal. Such initiatives have already been noticed where upcoming coal-based power capacity addition is being designed on Thar Coal.
The forum also recommended the construction of New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) 3rd revised to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) worth Rs60.208 billion. The 3rd Revised Project PC-I envisages construction of NGIA alongwith allied facilities over a piece of land already acquired measuring 4,300 acres (Airside: 2,730-acres, Landside: 1,570-acres). The forum has cleared the Improvement/Widening of Spera Ragha Road from Khanozai Cross to Loralai Killa Saifullah, worth Rs6.121 billion. The government of Balochistan is the sponsoring agency of the project. The revised project envisages improvement and widening of 92.5-kilometre long existing single lane road to two lane facility having existing width of 3.65-metre to 7.3-metre and 2.43-metre wide shoulders on either side, from Khanozai (N-50) cross to Loralai - Killa Saifullah (N-70).
The project road will connect National Highway (N-50) with National Highway (N-70). After completion, the project will serve as the main route to connect the Central Cities of Northern Balochistan to Southern Punjab. The forum also cleared the special repair of 600 passenger coaches and 1,200 bogies wagons worth Rs3.95 billion. The objective of this project is to procure essentially required imported/locally manufactured spares and to carry-out special repair, heavy repair, defend maintenance of stabled 600 coaches and 1,200 bogie wagons comprising 227 air conditioned passenger coaches with latest facilities.