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‘Allowing Afghan Transit Trade can unleash full potential of Gwadar port’

‘Allowing Afghan Transit Trade can unleash full potential of Gwadar port’

GWADAR: Trained as a mechanical engineer from the Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology, Mir Naveed Baloch is a member of the Pakistan Engineering Council since 2003. Following his engineering education, he ventured into diversified commercial interests such as real estate; and shipping, transport & freight.

Currently, he is serving his third term as the President of Gwadar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and has been the President of Zameendar Association in Gwadar for last 15 years. His past stints include serving as vice president of FPCCI and as member of caretaker cabinet in Balochistan during the last interim government. He is also the founder Chairman of Gwadar Economic Forum and CEO of Gwadar Global Gateway, a real-estate company.

During a interview he stated that Gwadar’s master plan has been prepared by the same company that has drafted master plans for several Chinese cities in the past. The new master plan envisages One Gwadar. This means that there will be no distinction of “Old Township”. In coming days, you will notice concerted government efforts to develop and improve the existing infrastructure of the erstwhile old township area.

As far as the new areas are concerned, work on the expressway to airport is expected to be completed by mid-2020. Similarly, East Bayway, along with other projects, is expected to be completed within next three years. BRR: What has been the progress of soft infrastructure development such as in health and education services for Gwadar city?

One must appreciate that Gwadar is still very much a fishing village. While GDA Hospital is very well managed, more medical facilities shall be added as the city grows. Darmaan Jah Navy Hospital in Ormara town also falls within Gwadar district. It features among the top care centers in the province.

So far as education is concerned, we are lagging. Currently, Cadet College, Ormara is the only higher secondary level institute in the district. However, once infrastructure projects mature and commercial activities at port pick up in earnest, population will grow in tandem. Schools and colleges will only mushroom once population reaches a threshold.

Gwadar’s water shortage is close to resolution. Back when I was the minister, I had undertaken water supply planning for the entire Gwadar district. The plan had envisaged construction of both waste treatment and desalination plants to address long term shortage of water in Gwadar. These need to be complemented with improved access to surface water, along with increased availability of tube wells.

Thanks to rain, dams and reservoirs in the region have filled. The city is being connected with Shadi Kaur dam in Pasni district, where surface freshwater is available in abundance. We expect the supply to begin in a month’s time. Current water levels in Shadi Kaur are sufficient to service Gwadar city’s requirement for at least the next three years.