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Senate committee asks government to connect Gwadar through rail

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Senate committee asks government to connect Gwadar through rail

Islamabad, Jan 03 : Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has observed that Gwadar’s connectivity with the rest of country through road network as well as railway lines are equally important.
The meeting of the committee was held here on Friday at parliament house under the chairmanship of Senator Agha Shahzaib Khan Durrani. The committee directed Pakistan Railways to give a detailed briefing on the current position, issues and hiccups and long term planning on prospects of the same.

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 two 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 re-appropriated 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.

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