The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping on Thursday expressed deep concerns over painfully slow progress of Gwadar Port project.
The body, which met here with Rana Mahmood-ul-Hassan in the chair, expressed apprehensions that the port, which has been already developed, has no roads networks to connect it with rest of the country.
Secretary Ports and Shipping informed the committee that 105 containers had entered the country through Gwadar Port and each container generates employment for 240 persons.
Only urea fertiliser, wheat and sugar are imported through this port, he added.
MNA Nosheen Saeed said that if Gwadar Port fully developed, it would benefit trade with China and India.
“The port has great potentials,” she said, adding that roads’ network connecting it with rest of the country should be completed at the earliest.
Officials of National Highway Authority (NHA) briefed the committee about its ongoing projects of roads in Balochistan.
They said that work on Makran Coastal Highway was in progress, but it delayed due to non-availability of funds.
The 2010 floods resulted in cut in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of 2010-11 that led to 50 percent (from Rs 36 billion to Rs 18 billion) cut on allocations of NHA.
Such a major cut badly affected the construction of roads across the country including Balochistan, they added.
The deteriorating law and order situation also created hurdles in execution of the project that further delayed completion of the project.
They informed the committee that an NHA contractor was killed on Makran Coastal Highway.
They informed that the authority required Rs 2 billion urgently for this project and the government allocated Rs 1.5 billion in the PSDP 2011-12, which will delay the completion of the project of national importance.
MNA Nasir Ali Shah said that making fully functional this port was not the priority of the government.
“Gwadar Port will not be completed even by 2025 if the government continued delay in allocation and releases of funds for Gwadar roads network,” he added.
Without road connectivity, he said, this port is totally failure and all the money spent over it has wasted.
He also expressed his astonishment over the fact Port of Singapore Authority earned more money than the port itself.
Like Sandak, Reko Diq, these foreigners just took away the resources of Balochistan and the people of the area are left at the mercy of Allah, he added.
Chairman of the committee said if Prime Minister can approve Rs 47 billion for Multan Package, then he should also approve special funds for construction of Gwadar roads network.
Fouzia Wahab MNA said that the under new NFC award, the share of Balochistan province had been increased from Rs 35 billion to Rs 90 billion.
Apart from this amount, she said the government had also allocated more funds under special package for Balochistan.
“Where the money was spent? The provincial government of Balochistan has to spare some money for this important project because major benefits of it will go to the province.
Funds generation is the most difficult job because imposition of new taxes is strongly resisted by the people,” she added.
The committee decided to hold its ext meeting in Gwadar where all stakeholders would brief the committee and efforts would be made to speed up the ongoing work on roads network.