The CPEC and Balochistan

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Naseebullah Khan
Does the Crown jewel of the CPEC__ Balochistan, which provides around 62 percent of the land to the project enjoy its due share in this mighty project? As per the official statement of then Chief Minister Jam Kamal in December 2018 in the provincial assembly who said that the provincial share in the project is 4.5 percent. For examining this, it is vital to shed light upon the total projects of the province in the CPEC. The CPEC projects are four folded vis-a-vis energy, infrastructure, Gwader port development, and establishing of special economic zones (SEZs). The projects in Balochistan can be categorized as such: 1. Energy There is a total of 21 projects of 13800 MW worth 26.37 billion USD in the CPEC of which only 2 have been established in Balochistan having generating capacity of 1630 MW with an estimate of 2.54 billion US dollar. As per the estimate, 71959 jobs will be created from all these projects of which Balochistan,s share will be 10778 jobs. Moreover, as per the Long term plans of the CPEC, a total of 13 Grid stations of 500 KV transmission will be established in which the share of Balochistan is zero. Apart from this, 2 transmission lines of 500 each will be constructed in which no one is located in Balochistan. In these two transmission lines, one will be from Methadar to Lahore, while the second will go to Faisalabad. 2. Infrastructure (Road and Railway) The second component of the CPEC is infrastructural development. According to the documents of long term plan (LTP) of the CPEC, the western route will be completed in priority basis. At current, on the CPEC Western Route, the completed projects are; the 297 km Hakla-D I Khan Motorway, the 235 km Quetta-Sohrab road, the 449 km Surab-Hoshab road, and the 193 km Hoshab-Gwadar road. While, the under-construction projects on the CPEC Western alignment are comprised of the 305 km Zhob-Quetta road, the 110 km Basima-Khuzdar road, the Nokundi-Mashkel road, and the 146 km Hoshab-Awaran road. In addition, The projects on the Western Route that are the 460 km Karachi-Quetta-Chaman road, the 200 km Mashkhel-Panjgur road, the 163 km Awaran-Khuzdar road, the 228 km Panjgur-Awaran road, and the 136 km Awaran-Jhal Jao-Bela road. While Work on the 210-kilometer D.I. Khan (Yarik)-Zhob Road (N-50) and Zhob-Quetta (N-50) roads have already been completed whereas working on the 431 km Khuzdar-Quetta-Chaman Section of N-25 is also in progress. On the flip side, the Surab-Hoshab at N-85 and Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab (M-8) are already operational. At the same time, work on the 106 km Basima-Khuzdar road, Quetta to Khuzdar road, and Khuzdar to Awaran and Hoshab road has also started. It has been time and again committed that work on the western alignment routes of CPEC would be completed within three years. At present, this commitment has been proved an exaggeration. Despite road infrastructure, 3 Rail networks plan for Balochistan from Gwadar to Basima jecoabad (new track), Rail based Quetta and Gwadar Suhrab Quetta rail track will be established. Unfortunately, the Quetta mass transit that was approved in the 6th JCC meeting was rejected in the 7th JCC meeting. 3. Gwadar Port. The third pillar of the CPEC is the development of Gwadar. As per the official website of the planning commission of Pakistan a 300 MW coal power plant will be established in Gwadar. Construction of free zone, Hospital, Airport, Gwadar east bay Expressway, provision of pure water facility along with the establishment of Vocational institute will be established in Gwadar with an estimate of 2 billion USD. At present, the construction of the East bay expressway worth 179 million is still incomplete while 65 percent of the project of Fresh water supply worth 72 million dollar is incomplete yet. The project of Gwadar port operation and development of free zone phase ll with an estimate of 285 million dollar is incomplete yet. Apart from this, only 3 percent of the 300 MW Coal plant in Gwadar is complete. In addition, 32 million dollar Gwadar fish harbor and fish boat-making industry is still in pipeline. When we observe these projects it reveals that these are physical infrastructures necessary for the port not for people. 4. Establishment of the SEZs The fourth column of the CPEC is the establishment of Special economic zones SEZs. As per the official data, a total of 9 SEZs will be constructed throughout the country in which only one will be established in Balochistan in the Bostan area. The above data reflects that the lynchpin of CPEC___ Balochistan has not gotten its due share owing to its vital position in the project. Balochistan has a huge potential for a blue economy, has immense untapped natural resources worth 50 trillion USD, and is an important region for renewable energy. What is needed is that these opportunities should be materialized through the CPEC. Otherwise, the immense growing gap in the project will prove lethal for the integration of the state.

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