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Ministry seeks Rs10b: NA body told China to spend Rs26b on Gwadar uplift in FY15

Ministry seeks Rs10b: NA body told China to spend Rs26b on Gwadar uplift in FY15

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Port and Shipping Kamran Michael has informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Port and Shipping that the Chinese firm will spend Rs26 billion to further develop Gwadar Port during the next fiscal year (2014-15).

The minister was briefing the NA Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping which met with Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah in the chair to review budgetary proposals of the Port and Shipping Ministry and its attached departments for Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the next fiscal year 2014-15.

The minister revealed that the ministry had requested the government to allocate Rs10 billion for Gwadar Port in next fiscal year’s PSDP.

On the occasion, Gwadar Port Authority Chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini informed the committee that the Port had not yet been made fully operational owing to different reasons especially due to the ongoing unrest in Balochistan province and financial crunch.

He said that since 2007, 5.6 million tons of different goods had been handled at the Port and two ships carrying different goods were docking at the Port every month.

He said that the Pakistani government and the Chinese firm, responsible for completion of the Port, were committed to complete all Port-related works within next two years.

He informed that the National Highway Authority (NHA) was constructing N85 highway at a brisk pace to connect the Port with the Central Asian countries. “Once the Port becomes fully operational, it will help earn billions of rupees for the country,” he said, adding that the Gwadar Port would become a hub of business activities as it would be the only deep waters port available to Central Asian nations.

The committee was informed that a fuel storage facility was also under construction at the Port and it would be completed in the next year.

Speaking on the occasion, MNA Nabeel Gabol said that development of the Gawadar Port was one of the major reasons behind the insurgency in the Balochistan and elsewhere in the country. “Some international forces do not want the Port to become operational which will not only connect China and Pakistan but will also become a corridor for the international trade with Central Asian countries,” he pointed out.

He said that 585 acres of land of the Port was occupied by Pakistan Navy and the government should allocate land to PN at any other place so that work on the much-needed Port could be completed.

The meeting was informed that Rs500 million were required for the construction of security system on non-concessional area, Rs 130 million for the construction of breakwater, Rs 2.8 billion for the construction of bridging berthing area and channel for the additional terminal. Furthermore, Rs 80 million required for the replacement of existing navaids of Gwadar Port, Rs 360 million for bringing some changes to the master plan of the Port and Rs 30 million for the rehabilitation of harbour road.

Kamran Michael informed the committee that in recent past the Ministry had retrieved 70 acres of land from land grabbers in the limits of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and stern action would be taken against the elements involved in illegal activities.