by Li Hao, Ali Jaswal, Jiang Chao
ISLAMABAD, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Pakistani workers together carrying construction materials like steel beams seems to be the most natural scene at the construction site of Karot Hydropower Plant, a major pilot project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Though less educated, the builders of the two countries have found their way to overcome the language barriers.
"I do not know much about English or the local workers' language. Sometimes we use Chinese, English and their language in only one sentence. After working together for a long time, that is enough for us to understand each other," said Chen Bo, a 48-year-old Chinese construction worker who has been working at the plant for nearly one year.
With about 70 percent of the overall construction completed, the 720-megawatt hydropower plant, located some 70 km east of Pakistan's capital Islamabad, is expected to be put into commercial operation by the end of 2021, according to Karot Power Company, a subsidiary of China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Ltd responsible for executing the project.
Once it gets functional, the CPEC project will annually generate some 3.2 billion units of clean electricity, meeting the electricity demand of around 5 million local people and optimizing the energy consumption structure in the country, Li Zhili, deputy general manager of Karot Power Company said.
To finish the plant building as soon as possible and solve the power supply bottleneck in Pakistan, the Chinese and Pakistani workers have learned professional skills from each other.
Talking to Xinhua, the 25-year-old Pakistani worker Mohammad Awais who joined the project around two years ago, said the workers of the two countries lived and worked at the plant like a family and he had learned a lot from the Chinese workers.
"They are hard-working workers and very punctual. The things that we didn't know, we got to learn from them," Awais said, adding that he has learned load management, load lifting and strictly following the safety rules from his Chinese partners.
Chen said they had also learned from their Pakistani counterparts, with whom they enjoyed a cordial working relationship.
During the construction period, the project has provided tremendous job opportunities to local people, with nearly 5,000 Pakistani employees while the total number of the Chinese staff is just around one-fourth of that of the locals, the deputy general manager told Xinhua.
Like hundreds of his Chinese colleagues in Pakistan, Chen will celebrate the forthcoming Chinese New Year, a festival for family reunion. But at the hydropower plant, the celebration is not exclusive for the Chinese community.
Sami Ullah Niazi, a 27-year-old Pakistani civil engineer who had studied in China for five years, was looking forward to celebrating the Chinese New Year with his Chinese friends for the seventh consecutive time.
"In this project, we are working like brothers. And when they have some special events like their birthday or something, we will celebrate together," Niazi said.
Niazi joined the project in 2018, not long after he returned from China. He also worked as an interpreter because of his fluency in Mandarin Chinese. Niazi told Xinhua that he will take some special food like Pakistan-style mutton and fruits to celebrate the Chinese New Year with his Chinese colleagues.
"Our Chinese brothers left their country, their hometown, their family. They are here for CPEC, especially the Karot project," he said. "We should let them feel we are all in our home."