Balochistan told to look into Gwadar Port’s development
* PC deputy chairman says port envisaged as growth engine of Balochistan
By Mohammad Zafar
GWADAR: Planning Commission (PC) Deputy Chairman Dr Nadeemul Haq has asked the Balochistan government to study feasibility report of the Gwadar Port and look into the prospects of its development by keeping in view the progress in port cities of neighbouring countries - Chabahar of Iran and Jabal-e-Ali of the UAE.
Dr Nadeem and his three-member team held a meeting Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani on Sunday and discussed prospects of the port city with him.
Provincial ministers Maulana Abdul Wasey, Mir Asim Gaillu, Zahoor Buledi, Mir Hamal Kalmati, Syed Ehsan Shah and Mir Asghar Rind and Chief Secretary Fatah Babar Yaqub were also present in the meeting.
The federal government assured the Balochistan government of its support for development of the Gwader Port and advised the province to review its feasibility report and make it economically viable.
Dr Nadeem said that the provincial government should present its recommendations to the federal government to make the Gwader Port operational.
The meeting was informed that 80 percent work of the Gwader-Rato Dero Highway had been completed at a cost of Rs 15 billion and remaining work would be completed within a couple of months. The chief secretary told the meeting that all security agencies had assured the provincial government of their full cooperation regarding the security of officials working on development projects. He said that the port had been envisaged as the growth engine of Balochistan and people attached high hopes to it. He warned that if the port project failed it would have negative impact on Balochistan development. He said that it had been envisaged in feasibility report that 6.2 million tonnes of cargo would be handled at the port by 2030.
He informed the meeting that the federal government was firm in its resolve to make the port fully operational in the near future, but was reviewing its economic prospects. He said that federal government would also issue directions for the National Highway Authority (NHA) for early completion of Gwader-Turbat-Rato Dero Highway, linking the port city with the Indus Highway. The deputy chairman asked officials of the Gwader Port Authority to explain as to why the Singapore Port Authority, which was awarded contract for port operation during the Musharraf government, was not working at the port.
An NHA official told the meeting that contractors and labourers were reluctant to work on the highway due to security reasons. Raisani assured that foolproof arrangements would be made for security of contractors and workers.
He said that the NHA officials did not inform the provincial government about the difficulties they had faced during the development work and wrote directly to the federal government. The chief minister complained that the Balochistan package had not been implemented and that the notification regarding the Balochistan chief minister as the Gwader Port Authority chairman was still pending. He said that the NHA had committed that the Quetta-Karachi Highway would be completed by June 2010, but the work on it was still continued.