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Event Title: Senator Rubina Khalid was presiding over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs at Parliament House Islamabad on 3rd March 2022

Event Date: 2022-03-03

 Islamabad, 3 March 2022:- The Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs was held here at Parliament House on Thursday with Senator Rubina Khalid in the Chair.

The Chairman Gawadar Port Authority (GPA) briefed the committee on Gawadar Port Development Plan; a question asked by Senator Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan in the Senate sitting. While briefing the committee, the chairman GPA apprised that the development of Gawadar port was initiated in 2002. During 2007-2013 the development work hampered due to security and other issues but in the last three years development work in Gawadar is going in full swing. From 2007 to 2012 the control of the Gawadar port was with Singapore port Authority but in 2013 the operational control of GPA was handed over to China Overseas Port Holding Company; since then the development is on the right track.

Regarding the present status of Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute, the Chairman GPA underlined that the Institute was completed in September 2021 before its completion date with a student capacity of appx 256 students, adding that short courses have already been started in the institute. Chairperson Rubina Khalid asked why long courses have not been started yet? She stressed that the training in the institute should be according to the need of the local population.  Chairperson Rubina Khalid sought details of the staff, curriculum and courses to be taught in the Pak-China Technical vocational Institute in the next meeting. The Chairman GPA informed that China has agreed for providing training in the institute and a draft agreement has been already prepared in this regard which will be signed soon.

The Chairman Gawadar Port Authority also briefed the committee on the Gawadar port Master Plan. He underscored that the port expansion project mainly consists of; the expansion and construction of the storage yard, the Construction of a Multi-Purpose terminal, and The Oil and Gas terminals including a tank area. He said that PC-1 regarding land acquisition worth Rs 48 billion has been sent to the Prime Minister. The committee recommended prompt acquisition of the remaining Gwadar port land keeping in mind the surge in property rates. Senator Muhammad Akram while showing his concern said that Gawadar Port was started in 2007 but has not been completed yet adding, that neither the Pak-China Technical Vocational Institute has been operationalized nor the business activities have any footing. To which the chairman GPA asserted that development in Gawadar is in full swing since 2013. He added that Diplomas will be started in the vocational institute in appx 2 months while the East Bay Expressway has already been completed in 2021. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Gawadar in July 2021 performed the groundbreaking of the Gawadar Free Zone (phase-2). Development work has already been started and several business ventures have signed agreements with free zone developers to construct the facilities in the next few months, he noted.

The Chairman GPA also informed the committee about the internal and external challenges they are trying to tackle, inter alia, including Maintenance dredging (Case is pending in Ministry of Finance), Land acquisition as per Gawadar port Master Plan (Case is pending in PM office for presentation), Vacation of land by Pak Navy and Pakistan Coastal Guards (Concrete vacation plan from PN and PCG is awaited despite directions of PM and CCoCPEC), Industrial and commercial activities generation in the region particularly in Makran region, Lack of Basic utilities (Electric power, Gas, Water, Internet), Security Challenges and lack of smooth hinterland connectivity for National Transit cargo. The Committee assured the Chairman GPA of their full cooperation if needed.

The officials also briefed the committee about the proposed PSDP of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and its attached departments for the Financial Year 2022-2023. The committee was informed that Finance Ministry has not released PSDP funds for the three schemes of the Korangi Fisheries Harbour

Authority. To probe the matter, the Chairperson committee showed her intent to call the secretary Finance in the next meeting of the committee.

Senators Abida Muhammad Azeem, Naseema Ehsan, Dost Muhammad Khan, Muhammad Akram attended the meeting while Senator Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan participated as a mover. Secretary Maritime Affairs, Chairman Gawadar Port Authority and other relevant officials also participated in the meeting.