ISLAMABAD – The Senate Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping was informed on Wednesday that the water desalination plant in Gwadar is out of order and needs up to Rs700 million for its repairing and reoperation.
The meeting chaired by Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif in the committee room of the Parliament House was given briefing by the senior officials of Ports and Shipping Ministry on host of issues pertaining to ports and shipping.
The committee was informed that the desalination plant with capacity of treating two billion gallons of water daily has been out of order after one month operation since its commissioning.
The deep sea Gwadar port and its adjoining localities have been hit by serious water shortages and the government is supplying potable water through tankers to tackle the problem.
Committee member Senator Kabir Ahmed asked a number of questions about the plant from the officials of the ministry.
The meeting was informed that NAB has launched a probe into the malfunction of the plant and the probe is yet to be concluded.
Some members suggested that instead of paying hefty amount on its repairing, it would be better that the operations of the plant be privatised.
The officials also informed the committee that a water supply project is included in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and work is in progress on the project.
The committee was also informed that Gwadar Port Authority (GDA) is working to develop a proper sewerage system in Gwadar as the old city had no such system.
The committee was also informed that Gwadar International airport is being constructed with cent percent grant from the Chinese government as gift to the people of Pakistan and upon completion the airport will be handed over to the Civil Aviation Authority.
To a question by Senator Daud Khan about financing of East Bay, the officials said it is being fully funded by the Chinese government.
About investment in the free industrial zone which is part of the Gwadar port, the officials said that the land is being acquired for this purpose while two steels mills are being set up in the duty-free zone. “One of the steel mills being set up by a Chinese company and it will be the second largest steel mill of the world,” GDA official added.
Apart from this seventy Pakistani and foreign investors are setting up their industries while the overseas Pakistanis have also shown interest in investing in Gwadar.
When another member asked about the steps being taken by the government about vocational training centres and provision skilled Pakistani manpower for these industries, the official said that a school and a college for technical education are being set up in Gwadar with the capacity to impart technical education to six hundred students per year.
The committee also decided to convene its next meeting in Karachi to visit encroached land of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and to see the steps being taken by the Government of Sindh to treat waste water of the port city which has been the major source of sea pollution. The meeting was also attended by Secretary Ports and Shipping Khalid Khan.