CPDR launches pioneer study on the matter
Altaf Hamid Rao
MIRPUR (Parliament Times): Prolonged delay in the execution of the projects sanctioned for Azad Kashmir under CPEC will result in a hike of the estimated costs and will provide opportunities to certain vested groups to politicize such projects at the cost of economic development and regional connectivity of the state.
This has been underlined in a special report “CPEC in Azad Jammu & Kashmir: a gateway to regional connectivity and beyond”. Authored by Sabur Ali Sayyed and published by Islamabad based Center for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR), the report provides a comprehensive critique of the CPEC projects in AJ&K, including Karot and Kohala hydropower projects, construction of M4 and a Special economic Zone at Mirpur, says an official statement released by the CPDR to the media here on Monday.
According to conservative estimates, AJ&K would earn Rs.2.19 billion per annum after the construction of Kohala Hydropower Project. Similarly, the construction of SEZ at Mirpur would provide a strong industrial base to AJ&K and help it become an exporter, rather than a mere consumer- oriented society. To compliment this, the M4 will interconnect different parts of AJ&K, besides shortening the existing route between central Punjab and CPEC by at least 50 km, it said.
However, it also stands as a fact that with the exception of Karot Hydropower Project, work on no other proposed project has yet been initiated in AJ&K. This is primarily due to the withholding of funds by the Federal Government. Additionally, controversies regarding the projects’ design and ensuing environmental effects has also caused hindrance, the report said.
The report has also recommended to the government of AJ&K to initiate an open and knowledge-based discussion on the need, benefits and implications, if any, of these projects and a plan to address them in a time bound manner. It should be reminded that rising controversy on the Kohala hydropower project in view of its purported environmental implications can have far reaching political and economic implications in the days ahead.
CPDR is an Islamabad based non-governmental organization engaged in different activities related to the promotion of peace, development and institutional reforms in AJ&K, the Statement concluded.