The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives has observed that Gwadar’s connectivity with the rest of country through roads and railway lines is of paramount importance and has directed Pakistan Railways to give a detailed briefing on the current position, issues and long term planning about creating a road/rail network.
The committee directed the authorities to work speedily on the completion of road and railway networks to connect Gwadar city with the rest of the country.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani and was attended 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 master plan has two elements: Gwadar city and Gwadar Port and the aim is 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. In order to realize 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 are working on it and the plan was subsequently approved by the governing body of GDA. The master plan includes an inception report, a diagnostic report, an alternative plan report, and an integrated report. Short term priority will be the development of IT systems, medium-term will address challenges for sustainable development, and long term priority will be efforts to achieve the goal of a smart city.
The committee was told that the city and port will have huge long term benefits and revenue for the country but it has many prerequisites and multiple steps need to be taken to attract investment and make the population prosperous.
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 the west bay.
There is a need for sustainable urban development, providing one window operations, safe city project, invisible surveillance, and providing solutions to core bottlenecks restraining urban development.
The committee was told that Rs. 2 billion is required for paying liabilities and for the completion of Phase-II of the internal water distribution project. It directed the ministry to work on the mechanism and look into the availability of funds to see if money can be reappropriated from other heads and given to GDA.
The remaining amount of Rs. 13 billion from the Rs. 25 billion allocated for the Business Plan should also be released expeditiously.