ISLAMABAD: Pakistan could complete only three China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects in Gwadar having value of over $300 million, as one-dozen schemes costing nearly $2 billion remain unfinished including water supply and electricity provision, according to the CPEC Authority.
According to the CPEC Authority, the progress review of the projects revealed that all the schemes having socio-economic benefits for Gwadar – considered as the crown jewel of CPEC – were falling behind their original completion schedules.
The CPEC Authority, which Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal wants to wrap up, gave the status update report to the new government last month.
So far, only three schemes have been declared completed by the CPEC Authority, including $4 million Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan, which cannot be called a project.
The other two schemes are the Physical Infrastructure of Gwadar Port and the Free Zone Phase-1 costing $300 million and Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute that has been built with a $10 million Chinese grant. Even there is no indigenous electricity for the port, as the country imports power from Iran to meet the city’s energy needs.
CPEC remained dormant during most of the time of the previous PTI government but lately there had been some progress after the last political regime brought in Khalid Mansoor as special assistant to the PM on CPEC affairs. Yet, he could not take these schemes across the finishing line.
The $179 million Eastbay Expressway – a road link connecting the port with free zone and the city – that should have been completed a few years ago, is still shown as an under-implementation scheme, although on documents the project is 99% completed. China has provided interest-free loan for the scheme. The CPEC Authority expects that the project will be completed by June.
Work on necessary facilities like fresh water treatment, water supply and distribution network project worth $72 million is still 65% completed. The project should have been readied by 2017. In its documents, the project is shown as funded by the federal government.
According to the original plan, China was supposed to commit 90% financing for the project. In 2016, Pakistan had requested the National Development Reforms Commission (NDRC) of China to provide a grant for the project.
China had informed Pakistan that the grant might take at least two years for approval and the country could not afford to wait that long.
The report revealed that Gwadar’s water requirements by 2020 would be 20 million gallons per day, as against the earlier supply of only two million.
Water was planned to be pumped from the sea for purification and onward supply to the residential and industrial areas in Gwadar.
The project includes construction of a pipeline from Swad Dam with a capacity of five million gallons per day and Shadi Kure Dam with a capacity 2.5 million gallons per day to supply water to Gwadar City. It would upgrade the existing distribution system which was not sufficient to carry the available water as it consisted of six inches diameter pipeline which needed to be replaced by a 12-inch diameter pipeline.
Now, the new expected completion date is June 2022.
In addition, two other schemes, $14 million worth of 1.2 million gallons per day desalination plant in Gwadar remained at a very initial stage of work, with only 3% work done. The government expected that the project could be ready before the end of the current year.
The second project –$32 million worth five-million gallons per day desalination plant remained at the planning stage, according to the CPEC Authority.
The New Gwadar International Airport which, too, should have been completed a few years ago, remained under the implementation stage and hardly 36% work was done on the scheme, according to the CPEC Authority. China is providing $230 million grant for the project.