Proposal to build artificial island in Gwadar dropped

GDA highlights investment opportunities at public hearing about new master plan

Mohammad Zafar February 15, 2020
A general view of Gwadar port in Gwadar, Balochistan. PHOTO: REUTERS

QUETTA: A proposal to develop an artificial island in Gwadar has been dropped, said the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) Director General Shahzeb Kakar on Friday.

Kakar was addressing a public hearing held at the GDA office in Gwadar to explain the city’s new master plan and its proposed bylaws.

He explained that it was just an idea that was eventually dropped for a variety of reasons and was not part of the master plan anymore.

He implored investors to check such news with the GDA first before circulating it.

The new master plan of Gwadar – Balochistan’s emerging port city – aims at creating a ‘symbiotic relationship’ between the city and its port so that both of them complement each other.

“This relationship once established would then lead to the growth of all other sectors whether it is real estate investment or the industry,” said Kakar.

The public hearing was attended by the local people and investors from Pakistan and abroad, particularly those related to real estate.

Explaining the new master plan, he said development of Gwadar would take place in three phases – short, medium and long term. “Detailed planning of the city is under way to further enhance its strategic importance.”

He said some parts of the city are being kept for the future development under reserved land category, depending on the growth pattern of the city in the coming years.

“A data center is being established to consolidate data of the lands and proper digitization of land record. The new master plan also covers potential risks from environmental hazards and natural disasters.”

He said the Central Business District (CBD) would be a flagship project of the GDA and the CBD would be developed with the help of renowned developers of the world under modern standards.

To a question about people affected by the new master plan, Kakar said the GDA has a plan in place for adequately compensating such landowners and that an arrangement would be arrived at with consultations with the stakeholders.

“People whose lands fall under green belts and reserve land categories in the new master plan will be compensated with mutual agreement of the investors and the GDA,” he said.

To a question as to how the GDA intended to facilitate investors, he said the authority is working on a mechanism whereby ease of doing business would to be improved and that Balochistan chief minister is monitoring it.  “A one-window operation would be introduced in Gwadar to facilitate investors,” he said.

He also touched upon various investment opportunities in the city particularly in tourism, Gwadar Free Zone, oil city, shipyard, housing projects, fascinating skylines and business parks.

The hearing would go on for another three days.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2020.


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