The 7th meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project on Tuesday approved a long-term plan of the corridor, however, no concrete decision was reached over the ML-I (railway track), special economic zones or Karachi Circular Railway.
“LTP was approved by the JCC, which covers the development journey till 2030 and will bring new industrial technology, agriculture development, infrastructure and information technology to the country,” said Federal Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal here.
Briefing the media about the decision taken by the 7th JCC, the minister said after months of efforts finally the LTP was approved.
It was agreed to constitute a Joint Working Group on Agriculture, under the LTP, which will help Pakistan to modernize its agriculture sector.
Pakistan is facing water shortage and in this regard, Chinese expertise will be acquired to develop drip irrigation system in the country, Ahsan Iqbal added.
Regarding the SEZs, the minister said that China had collected the feasibility studies of the nine economic zones and they would reply after studying them.
Earlier on Monday, during the preliminary meeting of the JCC, it was agreed that three out of nine SEZs would go to the JCC for approval, however, the Chinese had taken all the nine feasibility studies with them and the final decision in this regard would be made later.
Regarding ML-I, the minister said that the feasibility study was shared with the Chinese and agreement on financing would be signed later.
On KCR, it was agreed that a fresh feasibility study would be conducted by the Chinese, which would be followed by the financing agreement. The earlier study of the KCR was conducted by Japanese and now the Chinese will conduct fresh feasibility.
He said the 7th JCC had reviewed the projects approved during the 6th JCC and agreed upon the operationalization of those projects.
It was decided that the projects whose feasibility are not ready will be further discussed by the JWGs, after the completion of feasibilities, and will be approved during the 8th JCC meeting.
Similarly, the projects in Gwadar were discussed and it was decided to accelerate the pace of work on all the projects.
It was decided that Chinese experts would study the feasibility study of the Gwadar Airport and work would be started during the first half of 2018, the minister informed. He said that China was providing a grant for the Gwadar Airport.
The minister said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi would on Wednesday (today) inaugurate 19km Gwadar Eastbay Expressway, which also included four kilometers long bridge over the sea.