ISLAMABAD, DEC 06 (DNA) — Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs was held at Parliament House on Wednesday with Senator Rubina Khalid in Chair. The Senate Committee deliberated on the acquisition of the remaining land for the railway track from Gwadar Port to the Railway Container Yard.
The said project was approved by ECNEC in 2007. Officials apprised that the railways have yet to acquire approximately 340 acres of land required for the project. The ministry is in negotiations with the District Administration, Gwadar Development Authority and Gwadar Port Authority for the acquisition of the remaining land.
Railway officials highlighted the issue of 5 acres of railway land that overlapped during the construction of the Eastbay Expressway. Senator Rubina Khalid stated that the railway track is the backbone of the Gwadar project and should be completed at the earliest. The committee recommended the ministry to form a committee comprising of relevant stakeholders and resolve the issue within 15 days.
Furthermore, the committee discussed the current status of the Gwadar Shipyard Project. Dr. Iram Anjum Khan, Secretary Maritime Affairs, informed that the Ministry of Defence Production (MoPD) initially marked the Kappar area for the shipyard. However, due to its location 50 km away and above sea level, MoDP changed the site from Kappar to Sur Bandar in October 2023.
Senator Rubina Khalid inquired why these factors were not considered beforehand, stating that the whole process reveals the incompetence of the department. The Committee referred the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production for further deliberation.
The Senate body was briefed on the hurdles in the execution of the Korangi Fisheries Harbour Authority, Modification of Fish Auction Hall, Establishment of Business Park, and Establishment of Cold Storage and Freezing tunnels. Officials informed that the revised PC-I of the projects have been submitted to the CDWP and approval is awaited. Senator Rubina Khalid recommended the ministry to also consider private sector partnership for the timely completion of the projects.
While discussing the implementation status of recommendations relating to Inland Waterways Transport and amending the Pakistan Merchant Marine Shipping Policy and Pakistan Merchant Shipping Ordinance, officials apprised that the idea of establishing Inland Waterways Transport has not been supported by all stakeholders, with some calling it a waste of resources. Senator Rubina Khalid argued that every year, thousands of men and women lose their lives by drowning, emphasizing the necessity of managing these waterways.
The Committee directed the ministry to engage relevant stakeholders and decided to have an inclusive meeting on the issue. However, officials stated that the Committee proposed amendments in the Pakistan Merchant Marine Shipping Policy and Pakistan Merchant Shipping Ordinance have been adopted, and a detailed report will be submitted before the committee upon its completion.
Moreover, the Senate Committee discussed the performance and tenders issued by Karachi Port Trust in the last ten years. Officials approved that KPT has issued 12 tenders for civil works and 26 tenders for P&D works in the last ten years, from July 2013 to June 2023. However, the major portion of the projects has been completed, and the remaining could not be initiated due to the unavailability of suitable bidders.
In attendance were Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Moula Bux Chandio, Senator Dost Muhammad Khan, Senator Muhammad Akram, Secretary Maritime Affairs Dr. Iram Anjum Khan and other senior officials of relevant departments were also in attendance. — DNA