A great livelihood project
by Cheng Xizhong
Editor's note: Cheng Xizhong, Visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Special Commentator of China Economic Net, former Defense Attache in South Asian countries. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of China Economic Net.
On November 23, the gate of the diversion tunnel of the Karot Hydropower Project was successfully closed, starting reservoir impoundment.
The Karot Hydropower Project is a major pilot project along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the first project of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) and China hydropower industry to be included in the joint statement between the two governments.
With regards to the successful construction and great achievements of this project, I would like to make comments on three aspects:
First, the China-Pakistan cooperative construction of the Karot Hydropower Project has again effectively hit back the so-called China “debt trap” theory fabricated by some forces. The Karot Hydropower Project is one of the projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, and the first project funded by the Silk Road Fund. Its investment is nearly RMB 12 billion. In addition, the Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank also provided loans for the construction of the Karot Hydropower Project. It can be seen that this is a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project, which is mainly funded by Chinese financial institutions. The project built and operated by China and Pakistan will be handed over to the Pakistani government free of charge in 30 years, without any financial burden on the Pakistani side.
Second, when Chinese enterprises are engaged in overseas project construction, they attach great importance to environmental protection. During the design and construction of the Karot Hydropower Project, Chinese enterprises not only consider power generation, but also ensure that the target of flood control and water storage is achieved. When completed, the plant will provide about 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of clean electricity, reducing 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
Third, Chinese enterprises attach great importance to people's livelihood in overseas construction. In addition to supplying power to Pakistan's national grid, the project will also solve the problem of power consumption of more than 7 million local households with low prices. The construction of the project has also trained a large number of technical personnel for Pakistan and created tens of thousands of employment opportunities. It is really a great livelihood project.