China’s ‘New Silk Road’ stokes opposition
The Belt and Road Initiative is a massive China-led infrastructure project that aims to stretch around the globe.
Critics say the relatively easy availability of Chinese loans for Chinese construction can lead to inflated project costs because there is less pressure on governments to minimize expenses. Flaws in some of the Chinese-built projects have come to light, Wall Street Journal reported.
In Pakistan, officials shut down the Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric plant last year after detecting cracks in a tunnel that transports water through a mountain to drive a turbine. The head of the country’s electricity regulator, Tauseef Farooqui, told Pakistan’s senate in November that he was concerned the tunnel could collapse just four years after the 969-megawatt plant became operational. That would be disastrous for a nation that has been battered by rising energy prices, said Farooqui.
The closure of the plant has already cost Pakistan about $44 million a month in higher power costs since July, according to the regulator, Wall Street Journal reported.