Islamabad (July 5): Elected representatives from the Southern belt of Pakistan’s largest Balochistan province on Sunday hailed the federal government’s mega development programme for the region under CPEC, saying it will resolve some of the core issues faced by the people of the target areas.
Ehsanullah Reki, MNA (Member of National Assembly) from Panjgur/Washuk/Awaran, and Aslam Bhootani, MNA from Gwadar/Lasbela, while talking to Gwadarpro on Sunday over phone said that the South Balochistan Package will end miseries of the people in one of the most-deprived areas of Pakistan.
The Rs600 billion includes a dual east-west road network to connect South Balochistan with two border points of Iran on one side and the Sindh province of Pakistan on the other, apart from connecting the belt with. Combined with the existing Makran Coastal Highway, three parallel road networks will pass from South Balochistan to open a flood gate of trade and work opportunities for the people of these areas.
This will put an end to the long-standing issue of connectivity in South Balochistan, which is mainly inaccessible due to scattered population and no roads, said MNA Aslam Bhootani, who represents people of the areas around Gwadar in the National Assembly. He said that electricity and water scarcity are the other core problems faced by the people, adding that the South Balochistan package has different schemes for addressing these issues together with those pertaining to lack of education and health facilities and availability of jobs. The package also has a comprehensive programme for agricultural development in this vast arid region, he said.
Bhootani suggested that until the 300MWs coal-fired power plant in Gwadar starts commercial operation, the government should link Makran division with the national grid to ensure fast track development of Gwadar city and early colonisation of the Gwadar Free Trade Zone to create jobs. He said that ensuring better connectivity, provision of electricity and water as well as health, education and work facilities in South Balochistan will become a great CPEC success story.
MNA Ehsanullah Reki represents the South Balochistan belt along the Iran border. He said that a just and judicious implementation of the package will not only end deprivation of the people, but will also create a greater sense of ownership among the local people regarding CPEC. He said that as the new highways are being built in unpopulated areas, there is a need to connect the existing populations with the new road networks. He also stressed for early rehabilitation of existing roads from Panjgur to Chedgi zero point on the Pak-Iran border. He said that Chedgi is a busy border point for Pak-Iran trade, which generates Rs150 million in customs duty for Pakistan per month. Connecting Taftan and Chedgi border points with South Balochistan will ensure enhanced trade and more job opportunities for Baloch youth, he said.
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