7 projects worth $1.44b under way in Gwadar

Seven development projects under various modalities, worth $1.44 billion, are under implementation process in Gwadar.

Advisor Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Jawad Akhtar Khokhar said this while addressing a two-day media conclave and roundtable conference titled ‘CSR Initiatives in Gwadar (The Gateway to CPEC)’ co-organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Islamabad and the University of Gwadar in collaboration with COPHC, Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) and Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) in the strategic port town, said a press statement issued on Monday. The advisor said that these projects include the Eastbay Expressway, which is 98 percent complete; facilities of fresh water treatment, water supply and distribution, which are 70 percent complete; New Gwadar International Airport; Pak-China Friendship Hospital Gwadar; infrastructure of Gwadar Free Zone Phase-II; 300 MW coal power plant and 1.2 million gallons’ desalination plant.

He said that initiatives in the domain of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) undertaken by China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) and other Chinese firms in Gwadar are appreciable and are aimed at the right direction; however, effective development communication and positive engagement with local communities are critical for the effectiveness and long-term success of these projects. Khokhar said that under the short-term strategy, the prioritised projects include: the provision of water in three months and electricity in five months for Gwadar, the Trading Corporation of Pakistan has been authorised to import one-third of cargoes at Gwadar; and the completion of the M-8 motorway. Highlighting long-term strategy, he said the government is aiming to build LNG and POL terminals at Gwadar port and ensure the availability of electricity, water and gas to enable phase-2 expansion of the port. Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) Chairman Naseer Khan Kashani stressed the importance of bringing the locals together through CSR. “We must prioritise people over infrastructure development. Drinkable water and electricity is the top priority of the authorities in Gwadar”, he stated.

Kashani said a desalination plant of about 1.2 million gallons would become operational in six to eight months that would provide drinkable water for the locals. Moreover, the newly inaugurated state-of-the-art Pak-China Vocational & Technical Training Institute will provide three years’ training to local youth, which is a big contribution by our Chinese friends, he added. “Chinese authorities have also recently provided 3,000 solar panels to the poorest of the poor in Gwadar for the provision of electricity,” he informed. Delivering the keynote speech, Chairman COPHC Zhang Baozhong spoke at length about the experiences of his seven-year stay in Gwadar. “We are cognisant of the fact that Gwadar deserves more rapid development to live up to the expectations of the local people. There is no denying the fact that it has developed much during the past seven years”, he remarked. He stated three reasons for the promising prospects of Gwadar: the cooperation of the Gwadar people, its vast resources, and its strategic location. “The inhabitants of Gwadar deserve respect and development according to their rightful demands”, Baozhong underscored. “We are sending 20 students to China on scholarships every year. We have been running a primary school here for the last five years and soon we will construct a secondary school as well. More than 6000 solar panel units have been distributed among the people of Gwadar so far, and around 500,000 trees have been planted,” Shahzad Sultan, Country Head Marketing of COPHC informed while providing details of the CSR initiatives.

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