There are many projects that are left unfinished and abandoned

Islamabad: Pakistan has flagged prolonged delays in five of its crucial power and rail projects with China during an important meeting discussing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, media reports said.

A meeting of CPEC's 11th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) took place on Thursday where Pakistan urged China to put USD 18.5 billion worth of five projects on the fast track.

Pakistan Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal expressed fears that any further delay would collapse the rail system in the country in one year and delay 3,100 megawatts of electricity generation, reported The Express Tribune.

However, there was no announcement made following the meeting that discussed the "missed opportunities" and "prolonged delays" in the execution of schemes that were agreed on eight years ago.

The five projects that Islamabad has requested China to fast track the work on include -- USD 10 billion Mainline-I railway project, USD 1.2 billion Karachi Circular Railway project, USD 1.6 billion Azad Pattan hydropower project, USD 2.5 billion Kohala power project and USD 3 billion Thar Block-I coal project on priority, reported The Express Tribune quoting officials who attended the meeting as saying.

"These projects are facing years of delay due to obstacles from both sides," the official said.

Pakistan asked China to consider Islamabad's request for the relocation of USD 584 million Gwadar power plant. The planning minister also mooted Pakistan's failure to reap the benefits of the Chinese experience to develop its Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

"The government has not signed minutes of the 11th JCC and a formal announcement about the outcome will be made during the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to China," said the minister. "The PM will go on a two-day visit on November 1."

At least 28 Chinese projects worth USD 18.8 billion are wrapped up however still USD 34 billion worth of schemes are yet to be completed. "If we don't start the ML-I (Mainline-I railway project) immediately, the mainline of Pakistan Railways will likely collapse within one year," Iqbal told the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) vice chairman.

It is pertinent to note that since China took the ML-I project in the CPEC fold, Pakistan Railways had not invested in the project. The discussion over issues faced by the Chinese independent power producers in CPEC projects was also the key takeaway of the meeting.

The minister lamented "prolonged delays" in the execution of three projects having total generation capacity of 3,100MW. He urged China to ensure early finalisation of their financing deals, the media portal added.