Raisani wants Balochistan to run Gwadar Port
ISLAMABAD: Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Muhammad Aslam Khan Raisani has again expressed concern over the performance of Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) and said the provincial government was gearing up to run the Gwadar Port on its own.
The federal government had granted PSA lease of the port for 40 years. Raisani, during a meeting here at the Ministry of Ports and Shipping on Wednesday, expressed his reservations on the contract and said the Balochistan government would like to run the port itself.
The chief minister said the people of Balochistan in general and the people of district Gwadar in particular had great expectations with the country’s first deep-sea port.Among others who attended the meeting were Minister Communications Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan, Balochistan’s Minister Finance Mir Asim Kurd Gailu, Chief Secretary Balochistan Mir Ahmed Bakhsh Lehri and senior authorities of ministries of Port and Shipping Communications and Gwadar Port Authority (GPA).
Raisani said that so long as the port remained non-functional or under-utilised, its desired economic results would be difficult to materialise. He added the local population had already suffered a lot in terms of their fish-catch loss as a result of construction of the deep-sea port.
“The local fishing community had been witnessing a substantial decrease in their fish catch since the port area had been the breeding point for various fish varieties,” Raisani maintained. He said keeping in view this grave situation the Balochistan government had initiated construction of two alternate fish harbours one each at Sur-Bandar and Pishukan and the PC-I had been sent to the Planning Commission for approval.
During the briefing, the issues of hiring local transporters, shipping agents and transporters and provision of employments to the indigenous population came under thorough discussion. The acting Chairman GPA, Ghulam Farooq Baloch, apprised the meeting of the financial constraints and port handling operations. It was agreed that all possible ways and means would be explored to streamlining transportation of fertiliser and other cargo from Gwadar Port to other parts of Pakistan by apportioning greater share to local traders and transporters.
The meeting also called upon the Ministry of Communications to expedite the work on Gwadar-Khuzdar-Ratodero national highway to help enable prompt communications facilities to and from Gwadar Port.
Dr Alamagir Khan gave assurances that the requisite funds for construction and maintenance of national highways passing through Balochistan would be released to the National Highway Authority at the earliest.
It was reiterated that the about 600 acres of land currently in the possession of Pakistan Navy would be handed over to the GPA for carrying out development plan in the port area accordance with the Gwadar master plan.
The Government of Balochistan would reciprocate by providing alternate sites to the navy for its strategic and operation needs away from the populated areas.