CPEC western route to bring multiple benefits for Zhob-Quetta belt

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Islamabad, January 31 : CPEC western route will bring multiple benefits for Zhob-Quetta belt of Balochistan, says a report published by Gwadar Pro.

The report says, N-50 Highway being upgraded as part of the CPEC western route has become a beacon of hope for people of Zhob -Quetta, from where it leads to Gwadar via Khuzdar district.

The local people are extremely happy and hopeful with the CPEC route passing through their areas.The N-50 starts from Yarak in D.I.Khan district of KP and enters Zhob district of Balochistan.

The highway goes through Qilla Saifullah, Muslim Bagh, Quetta and Khuzdar, where from a section of it leads to the port city of Karachi while the other culminates at Gwadar port. This Highway is being upgraded to a 4-lane dual carriage way under CPEC.

The N-50 can benefit people of the areas in multiple ways, said Nasim Mandokhel, a social activist from Zhob district. He said that Zhob, Muslim Bagh and Khanozai areas of Balochistan are rich in chromite ore, where it is transported to Karachi for enrichment to be exported to China.

If the chromite enrichment industry is established in source areas, it will not only provide jobs to local people but its transportation to China will also become more cost-effective, he said.

Mandokhel said that the mountains of the Suleman and Ras Koh ranges are rich in precious minerals but still the people of these areas are extremely poor due to unorganised mining.

Engineer Ziarat Khan, an expert in mining and mineral resources, said that initially, mini mills could be established in source areas to extract chromium from chromite. Chromium is used in various industries, including stainless steel manufacturing, electroplating and metallurgy. China and Japan are prime destinations of Pakistani chromite ore, he said.

On the other hand, Noor Ahmed, a wholesale dealer of fresh and dry fruits in Hazarganji market of Quetta, said that areas from Zhob to Quetta are famous for various fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts, including pine and almonds.

The N-50 will enable the growers to transport their produce to multiple markets across the country in relatively less time and cost. Presently, we offer the truck drivers up to Rs20,000 as reward for delivering the consignments timely, he said.

Time becomes the most precious element while dealing with fresh fruits and vegetables, he said. He said that the dual carriage expressway will also help in reducing accidents on the existing 2-lane single road.

Kashif Chaudhary, a commission agent in Islamabad Fruits and Vegetables Market said that the N-50 will not only fast-track transportation of perishable fruits and vegetables from Balochistan, but also from Afghanistan.

Pakistan imports the bulk of fruits and nuts from Afghanistan via the Chaman border and the N-50 will enormously facilitate this trade, he said. We are very happy as the N-50 together with the Hakla-D.I.Khan motorway (M-14) will reduce travelling time between Quetta and Islamabad from almost 20 hours to 6 or 7 hours, he said.