QUETTA: A public hearing was held at the Gwadar Development Authority’s (GDA) office in Gwadar.

On the occasion, GDA’s director general Shahzeb Kakar spoke at length about the Gwadar master plan and the proposed by-laws.

The event was attended by local people and investors in Gwadar and people from the real estate sector from all over the world.

Mr Kakar said that Gwadar had potential to become a developed city, adding that the city could also boost development activities in the whole region. He said the support of local people and investors was imperative for development of Gwadar city.

He underlined the fact that the new master plan’s basic premise was to create a symbiotic relationship between the city and the port so that they could help each other. This relationship once established would then lead to the growth of all other sectors, including real estate and industry.

Investors, area people and representatives of real estate sector attend programme

Explaining the new master plan, he said that development of Gwadar would be done in three phases — short, medium and long terms. The detailed planning of the city is also under way which would further enhance the strategic planning of the city.

He underscored the point that whatever lands were coming in the Green Belt

Zones and the Reserve lands category would be compensated with the mutual agreement of investors and the GDA.

Answering a question on areas being affected by the new master plan, Mr Kakar said that the GDA had a plan in place for adequately compensating such land owners and that any arrangement would be arrived at with consultations with all stakeholders.

For the reserved lands, he said some parts of the city were being kept for the future development, depending on the growth pattern of the city in coming years.

He said a data centre was being established to consolidate data of the lands. Proper digitalisation is being carried out for land records. He also highlighted that the new master plan also covered the potential risk of environmental hazards, adding that it would avoid natural disasters with development of ecological corridors.

He said that the Central Business District (CBD) would be a flagship project of the GDA, adding that the CBD would be developed with the help of renowned developers of the world on most modern standards.

Regarding a news item that has been in circulation for the past few days about an artificial island, he said that it was just an idea that was eventually dropped for a number of reasons. It was not part of the master plan anymore, he added.

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

On a question as to how the GDA intended to facilitate investors, he said that his team was working on a mechanism whereby ease of doing business would to be improved. The chief minister of Balochistan was himself monitoring this mechanism.

He said a “one-window operation” for all sectors would soon be unveiled in Gwadar.

The GDA director general also touched upon various investment opportunities that were available to investors in tourism, Gwadar Free Zone, Oil City, shipyard, housing projects, fascinating skylines and business parks.

The hearing will continue for some more days.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2020