China to set up large steel factory at Gwadar: Envoy
ISLAMABAD (APP): Acting Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Zhao Lijian Monday said that his country would set up a large steel factory at Gwadar to further expedite economic developments being carried out under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.
“Both China and Pakistan would very soon sign an agreement to establish the steel factory, three times bigger than the free economic zone being set up in Gwadar city,” he announced on Monday while addressing participants of a day-long conference on CPEC: Potential and Prospects organized by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI). He said, industrial cooperation was the forth pillar of CPEC initiative and both the country would discuss it in the next meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC to be held in Beijing this month.
“After completion of energy projects, transport infrastructure and development of Gwadar Port, industrial cooperation between China and Pakistan will be the main topic at the next JCC,” he added. Zhao Lijian informed that China was working a lot for the development of Gwadar Port which was built with the Chinese government’s assistance. He said, after completion, the port was handed over to Singapore but there was no improvement even after passage of five years.
Finally, it was given to the Chinese government by Pakistan government and the port was made functional and a ship carrying Chinese goods left for Africa. He said, a business centre, hostel for different companies, fisheries processing plant with cold storage facility had been established in the free economic zone spread over around nine kilometers. About Gwadar airport up-gradation, he said, the new international airport would have landing facility for all the modern aircraft including A-380 Airbus after completion, adding, prior to the up-gradation only C-130 or propeller-planes could land at the old airport.
The Acting Chinese Ambassador said, a 150-bed hospital was being built for the treatment of local people while a vocational institute had been set up for imparting training of different skills especially for the fishermen. Talking about different energy project being completed under CPEC initiative in different parts of Pakistan, he particularly mentioned about the coal-based power plants which were being built in accordance with environmental standard set by the World Bank (WB) and other concerned international organizations. He said, China produces around 60 percent of its total power generation through coal based power stations using modern and state of the art technology.
“The environmental concerns will be taken into consideration during the completion of these power stations,” he added. Zhao Lijian pointed out hydro power plant, coal based power plants, wind power plants and solar based power plants were being set up to meet the electricity shortage in Pakistan. He informed that the Karot Power Plant was being financed by the Silk Bank established by the Chinese government. The groundbraking of Suki Kinari, Kohala Hydro Power Project would be held early next year, he said and added, Sahiwal Power Plant and Port Qasim Power Plant would be completed by next June and December respectively.
He said, a power plant set up at Thar coal site would also be inaugurated in next June. He said, HUBCO power plant, one of the biggest coal-based power plant, would provide constant and stable power supply throughout the year. The Acting Chinese Ambassador said, the 50MW wind power plants and the 100-MW solar power plant set up at Balochistan would boost the power production and hoped there would be no loadshedding in Pakistan after completion of all energy projects. Giving overview of transport infrastructure projects, he said, the Multan-Sukkur section of Peshawar-Karachi motorway would be completed at a cost of US$ 2.8 billion. He pointed out that no other country was ready to support this project because of being less populated and having less-transport. China came forward to build this project on Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis in three years.
He said, KKH Phase-II would be completed at a cost of US$ 1.3 billion, adding, its Phase-I had already been completed while Phase-III would soon be planned. About railways upgradation, he said, after completion of dual tracks, speed of trains could be enhanced upto 160 km per hours. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said, the CPEC initiative would be beneficial for not only Pakistan and China but also the South Asia and regions beyond. He said, at a time when nobody was coming forward to help Pakistan, China extended support and confidence to its time-tested friend. He informed that the land route of CPEC would connect 65 countries through Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
He said, China’s cooperation in energy sector, transport infrastructure development including railways upgradation, Gwadar port, development of Thar coal, Karachi-Peshawar motorway, employment to 10,000 Pakistanis and early harvest projects under CPEC had given a new impetus to economic growth. “These projects have not only pushed Pakistan economic revival but also help integrate different parts of our country,” he added.
Mushahid opined that importance of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) had increased manifold for regional cooperation and after India’s stubborn attitude regarding South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC). In his welcome address, President, SVI, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema said that the CPEC was not only a game changer for South Asia but also for Central Asia and regions beyond. He said, CPEC would have global implications over the time, adding, it would promote trade and economic activities in the entire region.