ISLAMABAD: Chinese companies upset over the delay in the approval of the master plan for the smart port city along the southwestern coastal town of Gwadar, have warned Islamabad that it will have to pay the extra cost caused due to such impediments, Times of India reported.[the_ad id=”31605″]The Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtyar chaired a meeting on Monday to review progress on the Gwadar City Master Plan.
Director General Gwadar Development Authority Dr. Sajjad Hussain and Project Director China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Hasaan Duad briefed the participants regarding the Master Plan.
Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan was prepared by two Chinese companies, China Communication Construction Company Limited and Fourth Harbor Engineering Investigation, at a cost of Rs521 million, including a Chinese grant of Rs425 million and Rs91 million provided by the government of Pakistan.
The companies had started work on the master plan in August 2017 and completed it in December 2018. Following the completion, the governing body of the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) had approved the plan and then forwarded it to the federal government for approval.
The government, however, has not yet taken any step for the approval of the plan and it is still pending with the steering committee of the Planning and Development department for further decision.
“Chinese companies have expressed their reservation and displeasure over the delay in approving the plan by steering committee of the planning and development department. They have warned that in case of increase in the cost of the plan, the government of Pakistan will be bound to pay the extra cost,” an official privy to the developments told local media.
As part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and by extension, that of the Silk Route Initiative, Gwadar holds pivotal importance. The port city of Gwadar is a hub of connectivity for the corridor, and an indispensable interchange for the Silk Route.
The Monday meeting decided to develop around 130,000 acres for establishment of the modern port city of Gwadar. The Gwadar Smart City Plan would be presented before the steering committee within one-month period.
“Former Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeem Ul Haq criticised the approach of preparing the Master Plan and said it was an old model done during the era of Soviet Union but now specific area plan of uplift should be developed in order to meet requirements of its inhabitants. He said the port city needed to be developed by bringing a conceptual clarity at first in order to meet the demands of such initiative and then it should be developed. He said that there was a need to consult the local people of Gwadar in order to give them sense of ownership,” The News reported.