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Projects in less developed areas of KP, Balochistan priority: planning minister

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar on Friday said projects on the Western route were a priority of the government that would open and ensure uplift of less developed areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

He said this while chairing a meeting of Cabinet Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor in Islamabad on Friday.

The conveners of the Joint Working Groups on Energy, Infrastructure, Gwadar, Planning and Industrial Cooperation briefed the committee about the agenda of the forthcoming 8th Joint Cooperation Committee Meeting.

The committee accorded approval to the agenda, composition of Pakistani delegation for the next JCC and its date of the meeting fixed on December 20.

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The committee expressed satisfaction over inviting chief ministers of all the provinces to participate in the JCC that would enable them to market their own industrial zones as well as negotiate their projects particularly new initiatives in the socio-economic development sector.

The cabinet body gave the go-ahead to sign industrial cooperation framework with China and encourage Chinese investors to relocate their industries. The committee instructed to finalize a schedule for the groundbreaking of Rashakai Economic Zone at the earliest by removing all bottlenecks.

Bakhtiar said that government had expended the base of CPEC by including socio-economic development and agriculture sector. The committee advised to identify pilot projects in those sectors in consultation with the provinces and take up with the Chinese side.

The committee reviewed the progress on Gwadar projects and instructed to complete all formalities for the early groundbreaking of Gwadar New Airport, Vocational Institute, Hospital and 300 MW Power Plant not later than the first quarter of 2019.

The committee decided to seek finances for KKH Thakot-Raikot (Remaining Portion) and upgradation of D I Khan-Zhob (Phase-1) project of the Western Route.

The cabinet committee on CPEC also reviewed progress on energy projects and instructed for encouraging investment in hydel, Thar Coal and renewable projects in future.

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