Importance of Infrastructure for National Development (Article by Dr Ramesh Kumar)


Importance of Infrastructure for National Development

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, MNA
Patron-in-chief, Pakistan Hindu Council


When the Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, on the occasion of inauguration of the Karachi-Hyderabad (M9) Motorway last days, was urging that it is very hard to reach to the destination without smooth path, then all of sudden I recalled the previous tenure of PMLN government when there was immense criticism from the enemies of the development regarding the construction of Islamabad-Lahore (M2) Motorway under the Vision 2010.

All opponents were seen arguing that Pakistan needs hospitals, schools, jobs, but no motorway. The time has proved that the motorway, as an alternative of GT Road, has not only become need of travelers including all those opponents by making the journey smooth but in emergency situation, landing of jet planes there has strengthen the defense line as well.

Promotion of provincialism, no doubt, is like poison for the federation and it was very unfortunate that the opponents started targeting Lahore by neglecting the fact that the motive behind the constructions of motorways at that time was to connect the federal capital with other provincial capitals and Lahore was selected on the basis of provincial capital of country’s largest province Punjab.

Motorway network of any country is of vital importance of its national development and impact positively on different fields of life. Today the widespread road network of Motorways, which aims to connect all parts of the county including Multan, Sukkhur, Faisalabad, Karachi, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Gwadar, and Dera Ismail Khan, has also become a salient landmark of the steps taken by the democratic PMLN government for strengthening the federation.

We must understand that to achieve prosperity and progress, infrastructure is an important factor and in this regard road transportation is an essential component of organized civic life. Moreover, road transportation facilitates easy commuting of goods by linking various cities, towns and villages with each other.

Wide road ensures to provide a safe and fast traveling facility to all, reducing traffic accidents, saving fuels, and increasing trade opportunities as well. With best transportation amenities more economic activities could also be generated in remote areas and agricultural crops could get easy access to market.

After the World War-I, the west started to construct motorways to accelerate trade and traveling which very soon becomes a symbol of any developed country. An economy is considered to developed and industrialized if there is widespread transport system is available. If we review the journey of the speedy progress of our time-tested friend China in the recent years then we will come to know that China has become the largest country for investing in infrastructure. The reason why infrastructure development is the top preferences of Chinese Government is that they believe that progress is not possible without smooth, spacious and neat roads. Chinese does not confined their formula to progress to themselves, but for the development of other Asian countries, the initiative by the government of China to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is remarkable. The bank was inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jin Ping last month where the President while highlighting the importance of the vision of One Belt One Road (OBOR), has urged other Asian Countries to take benefits from the bank for the development of their country’s infrastructure respectively. Our Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other senior officials belonging to other regional countries were also present on the occasion.

International economic experts are of the view that investment in infrastructure and economic performance is directly proportional as the infrastructure investment not only empowers a common man to raise his standard of life but also shows improvement in labor and production capacity. The simplest example of this concept could be observed in the form of Metro Bus projects. Before the Metro bus service, people had to waste lot of money and time in terms of transportation, but today they can reach to their destinations on time and with dignity just at the cost of Rs 20. Due to easy transportation facility, part time jobs and other business opportunities could also be availed. The positive impact of the Metro bus could be seen in the form that real estate business is flourishing in the areas adjacent to Metro Bus stops, property prices are raised up, new academics campuses and students hostels are being established, business community is shifting the offices near Metro Bus stops, taxis and rikshaws are no more seen straying for passenger search, and patients have easy access to government hospitals.

Railway line and air ports also have very much importance in the infrastructure. Prime Minister has recently directed to start Metro Bus service to connect Islamabad New Air Port.  As far as railway is concerned, work on high speed signal-free train projects from Peshawar to Karachi is ongoing. If intentions are good, then opportunities knock the door. The credit taker for the century’s  most successful project China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are many as someone from opposition is claiming that CPEC is the vision of his political leader, someone is trying to create hurdles through promoting provincialism on western route, but no one can deny the historical fact that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chinese President Xi Jin Ping had signed the MOU of 46 billion dollar Chinese investment on 22nd Arpil 2015 and brought the dream of One Belt one Road into reality as a result of which from Kashghar to Gwadar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is under construction.

Keeping in view the trade importance of Gwadar Port, a network of National Highways, Motorways and roads are being constructed with the cooperation of China to connect Gwadar, which is opening a new chapter of prosperity in Pakistan.  We must recognize that CPEC is not just the name of a road but in fact it is a corridor full of prosperity for the people of all provinces of Pakistan and provides numerous opportunities to three billion people of the entire region.

The propagandist of Western Route conspiracy had to embarrass when the trade caravan entered Pakistan from Chinese city Kashgar and passed through the western route to reach Gwadar port for the next destination via sea route. To mark that historical occasion, the national political and military leadership including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and then Army Chief, General (Retired) Raheel Sharif were present.

Another land mark achievement by the current government is to connect Gwadar with its provincial capital Quetta because of this the journey consisting of two days has now reduced to 8 hours. Similarly, there was also no regular road link of Makran with rest of the country, but now where the roads of economic corridor are passing; different business ventures across the road sides could be seen.  Successful infrastructure projects under CPEC are also playing a pivotal role in attracting foreign investment. That is why Russia, UK, Saudi Arabia, Iran, US and other countries are interested to be part of this mega project. While providing the shortest route to our friend China to warm waters, we can also consider providing the commercial access to other regional countries including Afghanistan, Central Asian states and Russia. Based on these facts, the global analysts are now declaring Pakistan most attractive country for foreign investment. Different reports suggest that Pakistan could be able to play a leading role at international level in near future because of its geo-strategic position on world map but to achieve this, world class infrastructure is must for which present government is determined tirelessly.

The Khadim-e-Aala Punjab Rural Road program intimates that PMLN-led infrastructure projects are not only limited to CPEC as Punjab government is implementing the policy of balanced development of all areas of the province .

Other provinces should also ensure the construction of high quality infrastructure for the sake of people and cooperate with the federal government to move Pakistan towards progress and prosperity. There must also be public awareness that our economic development depends upon improvements and modernization of transport services and all those elements of infrastructure development who oppose construction of national highways by making hue and cry that we do not need roads, are actually used to travel on their own personal and charted planes, and in other words are enemies of national development.

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