ISLAMABAD: Federal Secretary for Communications, Iftikhar Rashid has said that Gwadar Deep Water Port would be complete six months ahead of schedule. He was addressing a press briefing on development of Gwadar, at Ministry of Communication Saturday.

The senior officers of Ministry of Communications and National Highway Authority were also present. Idtikhar Rashid said, Gwadar Port is one of the significant projects which is being completed on priority basis. He disclosed that the President and the Prime Minister have agreed to cancel allotment of land to Pakistani Navy and ISI on the Koh-i-Batil handing over the land to the civilian authorities for development of future city of Gwadar.

Mr. Iftikhar Rashid strongly denied that the Port authority would allot land to private developers or encourage housing schemes in private sector. He said that it would be job of the Provincial Government to do. He said, the first phase of Gwadar Port will be completed at cost of US $ 248 million, out of which US $ 50 million will be provided by the government of Pakistan, while remaining is being provided by the People’s Republic of China.

The Federal Secretary Communication disclosed that the Government would connect Gwadar with the Quetta-Zahidan Section somewhere near Dalbandin. Secretary Railways had already dispatched the plan to the Prime Minister for connecting Gwadar with Dalbandin through a rail link. Online report adds: He said, Pakistan and Chinese experts are doing a tremendous job and the project will be completed before scheduled time frame with quality construction. He said, working conditions at Gwadar are very difficult, and availability of raw material is a difficult job.

He said, about 40,000 acres of land was acquired for Gwadar Master Plan. He said, 79 percent dredging work has been completed, while 80 percent, 40 percent and 10 percent work of Ist, 2nd and 3rd Berth has been completed respectively. He further said, seven international firms have expressed interests for developing Gwadar on the pattern of Dubai and Singapore and that contract is likely to be awarded in three months.

A special economic zone will also be established to make Gwadar a hub of economic and industrial activities. He said, there would be free trading at Gwadar increasing employment opportunities. He further said, 653 km long Makran Coastal highway is a project of great significance that will provide direct approach to Gwadar and other small ports, and Gwadar will be linked up with rest of the country.

He said, 248 km long Liari-Ormara section of Makran Coastal highway has been completed, while 90 percent work on Gwadar Pasni section has also been completed and remaining will be realized by June this year. He said, entire Makran Coastal Highway will be completed by September, October 2004, about six months ahead of schedule. He said, keeping in view the further trade-traffic with Central Asian States, the Government of Pakistan is attaching great importance for establishing a high standard highway network in the country.

He said, Rs 8 billion annually are being obtained from Toll Tax on highways and that a major portion of this money is being spent for construction, extension and maintenance of highways in Balochistan province. He expected that proper utilization of natural resources and minerals of Balochistan and proper management of Gwadar Port would make Balochistan the richest province.

Source: Daily Times