A parliamentary committee has proposed giving a boost to construction activities in Gwadar, especially construction of houses, so that businesses in the port city could flourish.

The Senate Committee on Maritime Affairs made the recommendation during a meeting on Tuesday after Senator Shamim Afridi complained about poor housing facilities in Gwadar.

Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini also agreed with the committee’s suggestion, saying that construction activities should be allowed in those zones in the port city which have been cleared in the master plan to meet accommodation requirements.

He briefed the Senate committee on hurdles in the way of the port city’s development and steps being taken to remove them.

Mr Jamaldini informed the committee that a railway network was still missing in the city, besides there was a shortage of skilled workforce.

“Besides tax incentives the Gwadar port needs subsides like those offered to Port Qasim for 15 years. These steps are important at a time when Saudi Arabia is showing interest to invest in Gwadar,” he said.

During his presentation, the GPA chairman responded to queries and complaints by the committee members.

Some members complained that while development of Gwadar was being planned, interests of local fishermen had not been taken under consideration.

Mr Jamaldini replied that a new fishery was being developed in Gwadar. He said that space had been allocated for residential areas for local people of the city.

Some members of the committee were of the view that a false impression was created about business opportunities in Gwadar through advertisements during the tenure of former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf. They said the move attracted a large number of investors who purchased land in the port city from local people at throwaway prices.

Senator Mohammad Akram of the National Party claimed that local fishermen were still being dislocated in Gwadar.

Senator Rana Mahmoodul Hassan lamented the downgrading of the fishing industry in the country.

Senator Kauda Babar said a sub-committee was formed by the chairperson of the main committee, Nuzhar Sadiq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. The sub-committee, he added, prepared a report about Gwadar’s problems.

The chairperson gave the Ministry of Maritime Affairs a month for its feedback on the report prepared by the sub-committee.

Thanks to Dawn News.

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