CPEC phase II making progress despite COVID-19 pandemic

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CPEC phase II making progress despite COVID-19 pandemic

ISLAMABAD-The second phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been making progress despite the ongoing pandemic in Pakistan. A number of mechanisms have been established to complete all corridor projects within the prescribed time frame.

Gwadar, the key port project of CPEC has remained operational during new coronavirus outbreak and is functioning well. Chinese workers returned to their posts after completing their 14-day self-imposed quarantine, according to an article published by China Economic Net (CEN) on Thursday.

Advancing further on the CPEC and to continue the progress during the pandemic, Pakistan recently agreed to upgrade the Railway Line between Peshawar and Karachi at an estimated price of about $7.2 billion.

According to recent information, work on the western route of the CPEC is also in full swing. A four-lane expressway from Hakla near capital Islamabad to Dera Ismail Khan, a city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest, is set to be completed next year.

Work on the 874-MW Suki Kinari-KP Hydel Power Project is also in full swing. "Unaffected by COVID, 50 percent of the work (on the project) has been completed," the Chairman of CPEC Authority said in a recent tweet.

In Multan, a city in Punjab province, the Peshawar-Karachi Motorway project, built by China State Construction Engineering Corp, is the largest transportation infrastructure project under the CPEC. Since its opening on November 5, last year, it became the country's most advanced motorway. After the outbreak, the employees carried out epidemic prevention activities, conducted disinfection measures, and recorded everybody's temperature and health data every day.

At the Port Qasim Power Plant, 37 kilometers southeast of Karachi, capital of Pakistan's Sindh province, the pandemic was no impediment.

According to Xi Peng, deputy chief representative of China's Power Construction Corp, "We have made sure every worker complies with the standard operating procedures to keep the virus at bay. "Stable operations continue at the power plant. Not a single worker has contracted the virus so far," Peng added.

In order to keep CPEC projects running, 68 Chinese staff of Saindak Project, Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) Limited recently arrived in Saindak Balochistan and would prepare to resume their work.

Furthermore, Sukkur-Multan Motorway (PKM) project ,which is the largest transportation infrastructure project under the CPEC is also working despite of COVID-19 pandemic.

General Manager PKM M5 Xiao Hua has said that despite the grave challenges posed by COVID-19, every effort is being made by his team and Pakistani staff to ensure smooth operation of PKM.

Earlier Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) Limited, China's largest steel structure producer, also has sent Chinese technicians on a charter flight operated by Air China to Karachi.

According to a report, the team of 78 Chinese technicians along with 1.7 tons of urgently-needed epidemic prevention supplies and treatment medicines, including medical masks, protective suits, infrared thermometers and glucometers was sent to ensure projects under the CPEC, proceed.

The government of Pakistan is in full consultation with the government of China as well as companies working on the CPEC projects.

In this regard, Pakistan's government has also taken effective measures to provide full protection to the Chinese workforce working on CPEC.

In addition, the Chinese workers who are returning to Pakistan have to undergo double quarantine system for their safety as well as the safety of other workers.

The COVI-D-19 has changed the landscape of regional engagement and international financial bailout, so CPEC is a blessing which may provide strategic cushion to mitigate spillover repercussions of COVID-19. This is a high time for Pakistan to stop listening to international experts and instead focus on its own needs and ways of doing business. The concept of keeping everyone happy or safe will not work. Every country has its own interest which they try to put forward.

Pakistan should not give heed to the foreign propaganda and keep working on indigenous solutions and take actions which are needed for the development of this country.