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Govt asked to speed up road, rail projects to connect Gwadar



ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiatives on Friday directed the authorities to expedite work on completion of road and railway network to connect Gwadar with rest of the country.

In its meeting chaired by Senator Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani, the committee 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.

Gwadar Development Authority director general gave a detailed briefing on Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan.

The committee was told that the concept of master plan had two elements — Gwadar city and port — and the purpose was 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, facilitating tourism, public private partnerships, industrial development were also among the objectives.

It was informed that in order to realise the hopes of making Gwadar a smart city good electricity supply and high-speed internet were basic requirements and neither was available at present.

The meeting was informed that the master plan included 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 priorities will include efforts to achieve the goal of smart city. The committee was told that the city and port would give long-term benefits and revenue to the country but it had 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 4,000 acres is old town area, 22,000 acres residential area, 19,000 acres industrial area on east bay, 10,000 acres joint cantonment area, 4,000 acres airport area, 2,000 acres commercial area, 3,000 acres central business district and 4,000 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 an amount of Rs2 billion was required for paying liabilities and completion of phase-II of the internal water distribution project.

Published in Dawn, January 4th, 2020

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