Indifference and corruption fast decaying Gwadar Mega City Project

KARACHI - Gwadar Mega City Project is tilting because of poor management and corruption, resulting in bankruptcy of several investors. Several investors have decided to withdraw their investment from the mega project to utilise it somewhere else, The Nation has learnt. According to a survey conducted by The Nation, several businesses particularly, the real estate industry has collapsed as the housing schemes could not be continued after their launching. The business community termed it the result of the poor policies of the government. Many people across the country, who were very excited after getting plots in different schemes of Gwadar city, now wish to sell their plots at throw-away prices, but nobody is ready to buy them. The investors belonging to Karachi and other parts of the country told The Nation that they have been facing several problems since they invested in Gwadar, as they faced several great problems due to poor system of the documentation and other legal formalities. While the local businessmen in Gwadar accused both the provincial, federal governments and the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) of indifference, saying that they were entirely responsible for the current crises in Gwadar was forcing investors to withdraw their investments. One plot or piece of land is being sold to several people through false documents, which are being prepared with the patronage of authorities concerned, said locals. The business community demanded that all the development works and the funds that were announced by the previous government must be utilised in proper way. Even the roads towards airport that links to the central city remained in poor condition. The business community concerned over decreasing value of the lands in Gwadar and crisis in the real estate business, as the lands were decreased around 70 percent. While taking to The Nation from Karachi, Naeem Khan who runs Real State Business in Gwadar said that the complicated formulates, poor management and poor system of the documentation process by the authorities concerned, caused hardships for the real state businessmen. Khan said that there are various investment opportunities in Gwadar, but unfortunately, the government does not wish to take any initiative for development. Several investors are not ready to come in Gwadar. Whereas, those who invested had here, are facing several difficulties. And, finally they are withdrawing their investments from Gwadar. He said that if the government is keen regarding success of Gwadar, so the present situation in Gwadar would be changed. He added that the city has several opportunities and charms for the investors, but they are not convinced due to the complicated proceedings of the documentation and corruption in the departments concerned. Naeem, who also runs Real State business abroad, revealed that several businessmen made contacts with him and took advice from him for investment in Gwadar. While the current situation has discouraged them, adding that the foreigners are still wishing to start their businesses in Gwadar, but first the environment should be created for them, by providing them relief in taxes as well. He suggested that the government has to take initiative to get the confidence of stakeholders restored and consider their suggestions for the development of Gwadar, otherwise without taking such efforts; it would not be improved. For the first time in the countrys, Balochistan, that had remained backward, has the opportunity to develop and progress because of the Gwadar Mega City Project, but the indifference on part of influential people both in the province and in the Centre have forced it towards a fiasco. He said that if the Gwadar Mega City Project could not progress during the current regime, it would never be established in the future. Due to current poor system, not only Gwadar but the entire province of Balochistan is suffering. He added that after the current crises in UAE and in other countries, the foreign investors are eyeing on Gwadar. However, the government is not taking interest to invite them by providing them better environment for investment in the province. Zulfiqar Ali, who runs ZA Estate and Builders in the major cities of the country, said that after launch of the Gwadar Mega City Project, foreign investors wished to come here. But, current poor system and lethargy of the department concerned had proposed them not to come here. Zulfiqr Ali, who runs his estate business in Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore and Gwadar, further said that the previous government had announced several development projects in Gwadar, but none of them was initiated so far. He demanded the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu action of the Gwadar project for poor documentation and corruption in the system. He also urged for abolition the Patwari system from Gwadar which is also a big reason for the big corruption. He said that despite of tall claims by the previous rulers, no basic needs were provided to the city. Electricity, drinking water, education, health facilities and others were not being provided to the people of Gwadar. Even the roads and airport were not upgraded so far, that resulted in the failure of the mega project. He added that except a part of anchoring few ships, neither big ship has been anchored nor the port has been fully operational so far. Habib Ismail Jokio, a real estate businessmen in Gwadar, claimed that 99 percent of business community has been dishearten and left Gwadar by withdrawing their investment due to none cooperation by the departments concerned as well as the poor system. He said that the GDA as well as DC Gwadar have introduced public friendly policies, but that were not implemented. He demanded introduction of Land Management Authority to bring land reforms in Gwadar, instead of forming several authorities, only one authority should be formed to deal pertaining land matters and their documentation. He disclosed that 500 plots were sold to more then 2000 people. Due to such situation, the people are not ready to trust on the government. Similarly, Mohammad Sheraz living in Karachi and had a hotel in Gwadar, said that he invested his all assets in the hotel. He said that earlier, the people as well as the investors used to visit there, but after the current situation, they dont even bother to visit there. He said that he is suffering financial loss as the people have stopped visiting there. He added that he has been offering to sell his hotel at very low rate, but nobody is ready to purchase it. The business community demanded that all the corruption in Gwadar must be disclosed and probe should be initiated on the matter. They said that a number of cases are under trial in National Accountability Bureau (NAB), while the people are still waiting for justice. Additional Chief Secretary Balochistan is authorised to settle the land matters, but he is sitting in Quetta, where the local man could not approach easily. Several projects have been launched by the private groups with the approval of GDA, but were not continued.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt