The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will not be decelerated but is instead progressing, a leading Chinese academic on the CPEC said.
Zhou Rong, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at the Renmin University told Global Times that CPEC construction will not be stalled and it has recently seen notable progress, with deals signed by China’s Gezhouba Group and Three Gorges Corp for two major hydro plants.
Zhu said that not one member of the 70,000-strong CPEC workforce – both Pakistani and Chinese – has thus far contracted the deadly virus, and that this is nothing short of a miracle given the grave situation in the South Asian country.
Given the effectiveness of virus prevention and control measures introduced by Chinese companies at CPEC sites, Pakistan could incorporate some of that experience in its fight against the virus.
“Virus control and prevention in the civilian sector is different from at the project sites, but the necessary and effective measures are worthy of being copied elsewhere to keep the virus in check,” Zhu said.
Pakistan’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have topped 265,000, with over 5,500 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University by press time on Monday.
The CPEC recently extended its reach to Afghanistan, with Pakistan’s Gwadar Port officially kick starting its transit trade with land-locked Afghanistan in early July. The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan on Friday tweeted that China is pleased to see the Gwadar Port playing a role in the extension of the CPEC to Afghanistan, which will bring more BRI benefits to the Afghan people.
July 20, 2020: Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib Monday said up-gradation of Main Line (ML-1), from Karachi to Peshawar, would prove to be a game-changer project for the Pakistan Railways due to its strategic importance in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
During the question-hour session of National Assembly, he highlighted importance of the ML-1 project, which would be executed with a Chinese investment of around $7 billion, saying it would not only help improve the passenger and freight train services, but also reduce the number of accidents.
Being a CPEC’s strategic project, he said, China would provide the loan on ‘favorable terms and conditions.’ Under the project, he said, all level-crossing and trespassing points would be covered by building bridges and underpasses on the doubled and fenced track.
Besides, signaling system would be improved and trains would run at a speed of 160-kilometer per hour.
Answering a question, Farrukh Habib said currently 40, out of 142, trains were operating in UP & Down directions due to limited operations caused by the coronavirus.
He said the train operations would come to normalcy gradually after further decrease in the number of coronavirus cases.
To a supplementary question, the parliamentary secretary said Sindh government and Ministry of Railways were working on the restoration of Karachi Circular Railways, besides removing encroachments from its route. “It will be restored very soon.”