Environmental Protection Agency-Government of AJK, conducted a seminar on the “Mainstreaming Environment in CPEC Projects—Special Focus on SEZ (Special Economic Zone) on 22-07-2017 in Mirpur. Dr. Shahid Rashid, Executive Director CoE-CPEC and Dr. Saleem Janjua, Policy Head CoE-CPEC were invited by the Govt of AJK.
Dr. Shahid Rashid provided thoughtful insights and briefed the audience about various CPEC projects and the utility that these projects are creating for the public. CPEC projects have a diverse portfolio, both in terms of projects, and areas covered.
The energy projects would add 17000 MW of electricity production. Korat and Kohal power plants are situated in AJK. Regarding infrastructure, 3000 Km of up-gradation and construction of roads and motorways are carried out to strengthen the regional connectively across the country. Infrastructure projects also include quadruple-M that will connect Mansara to Mangla via Muzafarabad and Mirpur, which will be connected with the eastern alignment. For the promotion of industrial cooperation, nine special economic zones are proposed, and one of them is proposed in Mirpur, AJK which would provide good opportunity to local business community, and will attract Chinese investors as well. Dr. Shahid Rashid stated that the CPEC projects should be well evaluated for environmental problems, and these problems should not be criticized only, rather mitigation strategies should be proposed and implemented. The need of the hour is to adopt a positive narrative towards CPEC so that maximum benefits are reaped from the projects.