ISLAMABAD: In consultation with all stakeholders, Government choose to develop 130,000 acres for establishment of the modern Gwadar Port City.

The modern port city’s construction will require cost of around Rs1,000 billion for placing all the required infrastructure, which cannot be built without allowing private sector investment through Built-Operate and Transfer (BOT) model keeping in view the existing resource scarcity of kitty for executing projects through the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).

One top official of the Planning Commission confirmed to The News after attending a high- level meeting on Monday that the Gwadar Smart City Plan would be presented before the steering committee within one-month period. “We have moved towards evolving a consensus on the Gwadar smart city plan,” said the official.

However, former Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeem Ul Haq criticised the approach of preparing the Master Plan and said it was an old model done during the era of Soviet Union but now specific area plan of uplift should be developed in order to meet requirements of its inhabitants. He said the port city needed to be developed by bringing a conceptual clarity at first in order to meet the demands of such initiative and then it should be developed. He said that there was a need to consult the local people of Gwadar in order to give them sense of ownership.

According to an official statement issued by the Planning Ministry, the Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar chaired a meeting to review the progress on the Gwadar City Master Plan project here on Monday.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Maritimes Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Balochistan Provincial Minister for Information Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan and other officials.

The Gwadar Development Authority Director General Dr Sajjad Hussain and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project Director Hasan Daud briefed the participants regarding the Master Plan. It was agreed to develop Gwadar as a modern smart port city, keeping in view the international standards being followed across the globe.

Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar instructed the authorities concerned to initiate the process of preparing investor friendly regulations and models in order to attract maximum investment in the port city.

It was decided that Gwadar would be made a green, clean and environmental friendly city. The federal minister instructed that heavy industries and oil city be positioned away from the main city.

The minister further instructed for making necessary arrangements for provision of utilities as per the growth of this city. He said that professional approach and due financial diligence would be adopted while developing Gwadar city as a state-of-the-art town. All steps will be made for acquiring land and other necessities in line with requirements of the city development, the minister said.

On the occasion, the Gwadar port expansion plan was also discussed, and it was decided that the port plan will be incorporated into the overall city Master Plan.