ISLAMABAD – The road network that connects Gwadar deep seaport to the rest of the country would require more time and financing for completion a specially convened meeting chaired by the Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was informed. The meeting was held to review the progress on different sections of Gwadar link road.

Hafeez emphasized the importance of the project and said that Gwadar port project was vital for the progress of desert areas and coastal lines of Balochistan. The government wants the businesses to utilise the Gwadar port for import and export but the absence of a road network to the rest of the country is an impediment in the functioning of the deep-sea port. The M-8 project would link Gwadar to Rattodaro in Sindh province from where it would be linked with the existing highway network. At present the port has only one link to Karachi through Makran Coastal Highway. Businesses avoid Gwadar port because of the long distance to upcountry areas due to the absence of direct road and rail link.

The government had started the M-8 projects a few years back but due to the difficult terrain and financial constraints the project has progressed slowly. The meeting was informed that 68 per cent work on the 193 kilometer M-8 project between Gwadar-Turbat- Hoshab is complete. Another allocation of Rs15 million was made to complete the section by December 2012. The 414 kilometer Hosbab-Awaran-Khuzdar portion of M-8 would be initiated in the second phase.

A 100 km of the 242 kilometer Khuzdar Shahdadkot portion have already been completed. An amount of Rs6.5 billion would be required for the completion of remaining work. The progress of work on 454 km long N-85 between Hosbad Panjgur Naag Basima Sorab is 17 per cent. An allocation of Rs1,800 million is made for the current fiscal year. The project is planned to be completed by June 2014.

The design phase of 110 kilometers N-30 between Basima Khuzdar has been completed and PC-1 of Rs4.3 million has been approved by ECNEC. Procurement of supervisory consultants and contractors is in progress. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Chairman NHA, DG FWO and secretaries of finance, EAD, communications, planning were present in the meeting.