Land acquisition for port: Gwadar Port Authority asked to expedite work

Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs, Thursday, asked the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) to expedite work on acquisition of land for the port, as the panel was informed that PC-1 regarding land acquisition worth Rs48 billion has been sent to the prime minister for approval.

The committee, chaired by Senator Rubina Khalid, was given a detailed briefing on Gwadar Port Development Plan by Chairman GPA Naseer Khan Kashani, on a question asked by Senator Palwasha Khan in the Senate sitting.

While briefing the committee, the Chairman GPA apprised that the development of Gwadar port was initiated in 2002.

During 2007-2013, he added that the development work hampered due to security and other issues but in the last three years development work in Gwadar was going in full swing. From 2007 to 2012, the control of the Gwadar port was with Singapore Port Authority but in 2013, the operational control of GPA was handed over to China Overseas Port Holding Company; since then the development is on the right track, he added.

The chairman GPA also briefed the committee on the Gwadar port Master Plan. He underscored that the port expansion project mainly consists of; the expansion and construction of the storage yard, the construction of a multi-purpose terminal, and the oil and gas terminals including a tank area.

He said that PC-1 regarding land acquisition worth Rs48 billion has been sent to the prime minister. The committee recommended prompt acquisition of the remaining Gwadar port land keeping in mind the surge in property rates.

The chairman GPA also briefed the committee about the internal and external challenges being faced including maintenance dredging, a case is pending in the Ministry of Finance; land acquisition as per Gwadar port Master Plan, case is pending in PM office for presentation; vacation of land by Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Coastal Guards, concrete vacation plan from PN and PCG is awaited despite, directions of the prime minister and the Cabinet Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CCoCPEC); industrial and commercial activities generation in the region particularly in Makran region; lack of basic utilities such as electricity, gas, water, internet, besides the security challenges and lack of smooth hinterland connectivity for national transit cargo. The committee, however, assured its full cooperation to the GPA if needed.

Regarding the present status of the Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute, the chairman GPA underlined that the institute was completed in September 2021 before its completion date with a student capacity of approximately 256 students, adding that short courses have already been started in the institute.

Chairperson Rubina Khalid asked why long courses have not been started yet? She stressed that the training in the institute should be according to the need of the local population.

Rubina Khalid sought details of the staff, curriculum and courses to be taught in the Pak-China Technical Vocational Institute in the next meeting.

The chairman GPA informed that China had agreed for providing training in the institute and a draft agreement had been already prepared in that regard which would be signed soon.

Senator Mohammad Akram, while showing his concern said that Gwadar Port was started in 2007 but had not been completed yet adding, that neither the Pak-China Technical Vocational Institute had been operationalised nor the business activities had any footing. To which, the chairman GPA asserted that development in Gwadar was in full swing since 2013.

He added that diplomas would be started in the vocational institute in approximately two months, while the East Bay Expressway had already been completed in 2021. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Gwadar in July 2021 performed the groundbreaking of the Gwadar Free Zone (phase-2). He added that development work had already been started and several business ventures had signed agreements with free zone developers to construct the facilities in the next few months.

Officials of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs also briefed the committee about the proposed PSDP of the ministry and its attached departments for the Financial Year 2022-2023.

The committee was informed that the Finance Ministry had not released PSDP funds for the three schemes of the Korangi Fisheries Harbour Authority.

To probe the matter, the chairperson committee showed her intent to call the secretary finance in the next meeting of the committee.

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