ISLAMABAD, Oct 19: A Senate body has suggested that more funds be provided to security forces – the Army, Frontier Constabulary and Rangers – to ensure that work on development projects related to the Gwadar Port may continue smoothly.
The Senate Sub-Committee on Finance and Planning was informed on Friday that the country had not benefited from the Gwadar Port road linkages projects because they remained incomplete though Rs45 billion had been spent on them.
Due to security issues, the meeting was informed, construction of nine bridges on highways built to link the port to other parts of the country could not be completed, resulting into rendering the port itself non-operational.
The committee advised the finance ministry to allocate separate ‘security funds’ for ongoing development projects in Balochistan.
Presiding over the meeting, Senator Sardar Fateh Mohammad Mohammadhasni said: “We need to thoroughly discuss this (issue)… we will call Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission on Monday to take a decision about the allocation of security funds for the projects.”
Members of the committee said that the security (situation) was a problem in Balochistan. Gwadar Port could not be made fully operational unless road and train links were developed to connect it with the rest of the country, they said.
Briefing the meeting, National Highway Authority Chairman Javed Iqbal Awan said the FC had sought Rs1 billion for one year to provide security for completion of Khuzdar-Ratodero road.
The committee members suggested a mechanism envisaging the allocation of a separate fund for security arrangements at key projects.
However, NHA officials said that at another meeting the members of the National Assembly Committee on Communications had objected to such an arrangement on the ground that it would set a wrong precedent and lead to wastage of money.
However, Senator Begum Kulsoom Parveen said: “We have to be flexible as there is not a single yardstick for everything.”
On the issue of annual road maintenance raised by the NHA chairman, the meeting was informed that around Rs80 billion had been allocated for the purpose, Rs50 billion in the Public Sector Development Programme and Rs30 billion through the NHA’s own resources.