- Contractors stopped work on several CPEC projects, says report
- Affected projects include CPEC Western Route, Karachi-Lahore Motorway
- CPEC connects western China with Gwadar port in Pakistan
A number of road projects in the $52 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor are facing hurdles as Pakistan's National Highway Authority faces a financial crisis, the Pakistani media reported today.
Pakistan-based newspaper Dawn cited sources as saying that contractors stopped work on several CPEC projects after their cheques worth over Rs 5 billion bounced a couple of days ago.
The affected projects include Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan, Western Route of CPEC and all sections of the Karachi-Lahore Motorway.
The CPEC passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. It connects Kashgar in western China with Gwadar port in Pakistan, spanning 3,000 kilometres.
According to the report, not only the CPEC projects but local industries related to construction and a large workforce of engineers and labourers were also hit by the situation.
NHA spokesman Kashif Zaman said the authority issued cheques of Rs 5 billion on June 29 to the firms against the sanction by the government.
He said cheques worth Rs 1.5 billion were cleared on the same day and "the remaining cheques that were deposited the next day could not be cleared".
Mr Zaman said the matter has been taken up with the government and would be resolved soon. Asked about suspension of work by the contractors, he said progress on the projects "had not been affected" and most of the projects in question would be completed by December.
India has right from the start protested against China's CPEC push as the corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
India's ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale, in a March interview with the Hong Kong-based daily South China Morning Post, had said that if the CPEC meets the norms of an international programme, then New Delhi has no problem.
"One of the norms is that the project should not violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country. Unfortunately, there is this thing called the CPEC which violates India's sovereignty and territory integrity. Therefore, we oppose it," the Indian envoy had told the Hong Kong daily.
With inputs from IANS