Senate body deliberates on acquisition of remaining land for track

GWADAR PORT-RAILWAY CONTAINER YARD TRACK

ISLAMABAD  -  The Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs on Wednesday deliberated on acquisi­tion of remaining land for Gwadar Port-Railway Container Yard track.

Meeting of Sen­ate Standing Commit­tee on Maritime Affairs was held at the Parlia­ment House on Wednes­day with Senator Rubina Khalid in chair. The com­mittee deliberated on the acquisition of the re­maining land for the rail­way track from Gwadar Port to the Railway Con­tainer Yard. The said pro­ject was approved by EC­NEC in 2007.

The officials apprised the meeting that the rail­ways have yet to acquire approximately 340 acres of land required for the project. The ministry is in negotiations with the district administration, Gwadar Development Authority and Gwadar Port Authority for the ac­quisition of the remain­ing land. Railway officials highlighted the issue of 5 acres of railway land that overlapped during the construction of the East­bay Expressway. 

Senator Rubina Khalid stated that the railway track is the backbone of the Gwadar project and should be completed at the earliest. The commit­tee recommended the ministry to form a com­mittee comprising rel­evant stakeholders and resolve the issue within 15 days.

Furthermore, the com­mittee discussed the cur­rent status of the Gwa­dar Shipyard Project. Dr Iram Anjum Khan, Sec­retary Maritime Affairs, informed the committee that the Ministry of De­fence Production initially marked the Kappar area for the shipyard. How­ever, due to its location 50 km away and above sea level, the ministry changed the site from Kappar to Sur Bandar in October 2023. 

Senator Rubina Khalid inquired why these fac­tors were not consid­ered beforehand, stating that the whole process reveals the incompe­tence of the department. The committee referred the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production for further deliberation.

The Senate body was briefed on the hurdles in the execution of the Ko­rangi Fisheries Harbour Authority, Modification of Fish Auction Hall, Es­tablishment of Busi­ness Park, and Establish­ment of Cold Storage and Freezing tunnels. Offi­cials informed that the revised PC-I of the pro­jects have been submit­ted to the CDWP and approval is awaited. Sen­ator Rubina Khalid rec­ommended the ministry to also consider private sector partnership for the timely completion of the projects.

While discussing the implementation sta­tus of recommendations relating to Inland Wa­terways Transport and amending the Pakistan Merchant Marine Ship­ping Policy and Paki­stan Merchant Shipping Ordinance, officials ap­prised that the idea of es­tablishing Inland Water­ways Transport has not been supported by all stakeholders, with some calling it a waste of re­sources. Senator Rubi­na Khalid argued that every year, thousands of men and women lose their lives by drowning, emphasising the neces­sity of managing these waterways. The commit­tee directed the ministry to engage relevant stake­holders and decided to have an inclusive meet­ing on the issue. How­ever, officials stated that the committee proposed amendments in the Pa­kistan Merchant Marine Shipping Policy and Paki­stan Merchant Shipping Ordinance have been adopted, and a detailed report will be submit­ted before the committee upon its completion.

Moreover, the Sen­ate body discussed the performance and ten­ders issued by Kara­chi Port Trust in the last 10 years. Officials ap­proved that KPT has is­sued 12 tenders for civ­il works and 26 tenders for P&D works in the last 10 years, from July 2013 to June 2023. However, the major portion of the projects has been com­pleted, and the remain­ing could not be initiated due to the unavailability of suitable bidders.

In attendance were Senator Abida Muham­mad Azeem, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Moula Bux Chandio, Sen­ator Dost Muhammad Khan, Senator Muham­mad Akram, Secretary Maritime Affairs Dr Iram Anjum Khan while oth­er senior officials of rel­evant departments were also in attendance.

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