The deteriorating law and order situation has brought construction work at the New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) to a halt, and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) may not be able to complete the multi-billion rupee project by the end of this year.
The project was initially estimated to cost around Rs8 billion and be completed in 2011.
“The law and order situation as well as continuous resistance by locals in the acquisition of land has halted work at the NGIA,” a senior CAA official on Thursday informed the Senate defence committee.
The CAA requested the Balochistan government to provide Frontier Corps (FC) personnel for security of the construction workers at the project.
“It is difficult now to complete the work on the NGIA by the end of this year,” a CAA official said, adding that the local administration is not cooperating with the contractors.
Due to some land disputes, locals have damaged construction machinery and on-site offices, officials informed the lawmakers. “The ongoing work was stopped at the site after some locals obtained a stay order from additional district judge Gwadar and Balochistan High Court,” he explained.
In complying with the court’s order, Nespak and the Frontier Works Organisation – contractors for the initial phase – stopped their work on site, he added.
The Senate panel was informed that the authority has requested FC Inspector General Quetta for deployment of FC personnel at the NGIA site.
The district police officer has also been requested to put up police pickets to provide security to workers on the NGIA site.
“We are waiting for their response to this request,” they added.
Additional Secretary Ministry of Defence Mir Haider Ali Khan said Rs1.1 billion has been allocated for the NGIA for the fiscal year 2012 while Rs245 million were allocated during fiscal year 2011.
The CAA was expected to acquire 6,000 acres land for the project but has so far acquired only 70 per cent of the total purchased land, he said.
Members of the committee said that Balochistan government should be taken on board to resolve the issue so the project can be completed in time.
Expansion of Peshawar Airport
The CAA officials also informed the senators that expansion of the Peshawar Airport is only possible if additional land is made available to the CAA. The construction of the new passenger terminal building (PTB) is not possible without acquisition of land wherein units of the Army and Pakistan Air Force are presently located, officials said.
“The expected cost of the construction of the PTB and allied facilities is Rs9 billion,” they added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2011.
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