KARACHI: Senate Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping has directed the authorities at Port Qasim to submit a detailed report within three weeks regarding certain irregularities which it noted in land allotments at the industrial zones of the port.
During the meeting at Port Qasim, committee was led by its Chairman Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hasni. Other members attending the meeting were senators Shahi Syed, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Nasir, Nawabzada Muhammad Akbar Magsi, Nuzhat Sadiq, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo and Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail.
The committee was informed that in 2006 a large area of land at the port was allotted at low price in the name of Al-Watan and Green area schemes. No investment has been made so far.
Senator Hasni directed the port authorities to get commitment from each allottees in written about how much land they need for setting up the factory or other business facility and retrieve the remaining land.
The committee also stressed on expediting industrialisation at the port zones by fully developing the infrastructure and offering more incentives to investors as Port Qasim is ideally located port and can be turned into a big industrial and trade hub of the region.
Port Qasim Authority (PQA) Chairman Agha Jan Akhtar along with a team of senior officials answered various queries by the senators besides giving a detailed presentation on port operations and its industrial zones. PQA chairman assured the committee that with availability of funds the Authority would carry out the remaining development work at the zones. However, PQA is facing shortage of electricity, gas and water, he informed.
The committee asked the port authorities to seek permission from the federal government for establishing a power generating plant for meeting power demands of the industrial zone and its operational activities. PQA chief assured to pursue the committee’s advice.
The senators were informed that total 13,700 acres of land has so far been allotted to 3604 companies. Senator Hasni directed the port authorities to reclaim the industrial land not utilized by the allottees.
PQA chairman, explaining the land availability position, said PQA was in the process of reclaiming land from the low lying areas and from the sea shore and assured that the port would have sufficient land for further industrialization in future.
The committee was also briefed about port operations and enhancement of the port facilities including deepening of channel to 14 feet, which would be widened and deepened further in near future to attract mother ships adding to the port income through increased cargo trafficking. The Senate committee members also visited the port facilities.
The committee was also briefed by the Customs officials about the progress in the scam of disappearance of 31 containers and theft in NATO containers. Senate’s committee said that they would refer the case to Law and Justice Division for further guidance to take action as the case is in the court.