Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiatives in its meeting was observed that Gwadar’s connectivity with the rest of country through road network as well as railway lines is of paramount importance and directed Pakistan Railways to give a detailed briefing on the current position, issues and hiccups and long term planning on prospects of the same.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani and was attended among others by Senators Shaheen Khalid Butt, Gianchand, Kauda Babar, Usman Khan Kakar, Mir Kabeer Shahi, Secretary Planning, Development and Reforms, Director General Gwadar Development Authority and officials from the ministry.
Director General Gwadar Development Authority gave a detailed briefing on Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan. The Committee was told that the concept of master plan has two elements the Gwadar city and the Gwadar Port and the objectives are to create strategic objectives, create sustainable development and recommend means and interventions to develop Gwadar as a special economic district. Identifying Gwadar’s competitive advantages, facilitate tourism, public private partnerships, industrial development are also among the objectives. It was told that in order to realise the hopes of making Gwadar a smart city good electricity supply and high speed internet are basic requirements and neither is available at present.
An executive/technical committee and a steering committee were working on it and was subsequently approved by governing body of GDA. The master plan includes inception report, diagnostic report, alternative plan report and integrated report. Short term priority will be development of IT systems, medium term will address challenges for sustainable development, and long term priority will be efforts to achieve the goal of smart city. The Committee was told that the city and port will give huge long term benfits and revenue to the country but it has many prerequisites attached to it and multiple steps need to be taken to attract investment as well as make the population prosperous.
The Committee was told that according to the master plan around 4000 acres is old town area, 22,000 acres residential area, 19,000 acres industrial area on east bay, 10000 acres joint cantt area, 4,000 acres airport area, 2,000 acres commercial area, 3000 acres central business district and 4000 acres recreational area on west bay.
It was told that there is a need for sustainable urban development, providing one window operations, safe city project and invisible surveillance and providing solutions to core bottlenecks restraining urban development.
The Committee was told that 2 billion is required for paying liabilities and completion of Phase-II of the internal water distribution project. The Committee directed the ministry to work upon the mechanism and look into the availability of funds to see if money can be reappropriated from other heads and given to GDA. The Committee also directed that the remaining amount of 13 billion from the 25 billion allocated for Business Plan should also be released expeditiously.