The Senate was informed on Wednesday that Gwadar Port would be operational by Dec 30, 2006. During the question hour, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Kamil Ali Agha said that 90 per cent work on the first phase of the port had been completed.

He said although problems were being faced in construction of roads, the project would be handed over to operators by Dec 30.

Mr Agha said the first phase would have cost Rs14.9 billion while the second phase would cost Rs525 million.

He pointed out that initially a 12-metre-long channel had been dug which turned out insufficient, adding that its length would now be increased to 15 or 16 metres. He said 70 per cent work had been completed.

In the second phase, he said, 21 berths would be built but construction had not started yet. He said the work had been delayed as funds provided by China in the first phase was only for the construction of small ports and light berths leading Pakistan to seek more Chinese assistance.

Rejecting opposition”s allegations that funds allocated for Gwadar Port were being spent on Karachi Port, he said inadequacy of roads and civil work were the main reasons causing problems in the construction work of the new port.

The minister said that transportation facilities in sea were not available in the country as the water level did not keep the same the whole year.

Source: The Dawn