Gwadar Smart Port City master plan in top gear

The Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan (2019-2025) has picked momentum with a flurry of high-quality development activities in 13 areas to shape up the old-fishing town into a modern city.

The activities include the progression of the central business district, rehabilitation of old towns, remodeling of roads, establishment of parks, fostering of green growth, designing of ecological corridors, mapping out of tourism spots, digitalization, and development of skill-based economies, aiming to lay down the foundation of social and civic amenities, trail-blaze new business avenues and make available state-of-the-art health as well as educational facilities.

According to Gwadar Pro’s report, a 75-page master plan document was prepared by China Communications Construction Company in conjunction with Pakistan’s Minister of Planning, Development and Reform and the Gwadar Development Authority.

Work has been completed on various water supply projects in Gwadar. In this regard, two dams, Shadi Kaur and Sowd, have been completed and connected to the city through pipelines.

Meanwhile, a sewage water treatment plant has been set up so that the sewage water from Gwadar could be used for irrigation and agriculture instead of polluting the coastline.

Gwadar Indus Hospital also called Pak-China Friendship Hospital for $30.5 million has been completed. It will provide the best medical facilities to the people of Gwadar district.

In the initial phase, Gwadar Port has gone digital as the state of the fiber optic cable network is operationalized in true letter and spirit, unveiling the modernization of E-Custom at the Port for easier and simpler trans-shipment and containerized trade on commercialized modules.

With the laydown of fiber optic cable, paperless custom procedures have become fully functional, transforming Gwadar into a bustling hub of regional and international trade to Afghanistan, Central Asia, and China. Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) completed the project of laying down the fiber optic cable.

The Balochistan government has approved a ‘central business district’ over an area of 2,500 acres in the port city under the Gwadar Master Plan.

The government has also granted a tax-free zone status to Gwadar district, exempting the area from all provincial taxes in an attempt to boost economic activities, while a 280km road network has also been constructed.

Under the master plan, a project of a breakwater at Jebel-e-Nuh for the expansion of Port Gwadar worth Rs. 42.19 billion has been greenlighted.

The purpose of this breakwater project is mainly to provide ample marine protection against waves and monsoonal swells and meet limiting (allowable) wave conditions considered safe for berthing.

Gwadar Port Breakwater is designed to reduce coastal erosion and impacts of siltation at the East Bay. Overall, the Gwadar Port Breakwater will enable safe working at the port, navigation, cargo handling, berthing and unberthing, dredging, hydrographic surveys, mooring, etc.

Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute (PCT & VI) has also been operational providing advanced skilled-based knowledge to the youth of Gwadar.

Gwadar is going green with a quantum leap from barrenness to vegetation. Many green projects have been producing marvelous results.

These projects include Pak-China Friendship Green Park, GDA Central Park, GDA New Town Family Park, Sunset Park, Gwadar Port Free Zone Nursery, a tissue culture Lab, and an intelligent greenhouse in the free zone area.

Under the agriculture eco-system, projects regarding Aloe Vera plantation and Juncao, a name for fungi-breeding herbaceous plants, also known as the “Magic Grass are the new additions.

City arteries, small and big, are blooming with the plantation drive mostly on dedicated road dividers. Marine Drive and Syed Hashmi Avenue (Old Airport), Shaheed Capt Road, Pak-China Friendship Road, and many other internal roads even pathways inside housing societies have been wearing a greener look.

The plantation is also visible in China-Pakistan Faqeer Middle School, GDA higher secondary school, Bahria Model Schools, Army Public Schools, Allama Iqbal Open University campus, Girls Degree College, Boys Degree College, National University of Modern Language (NUML) camps, Gwadar Information Technology (GIT), Gwadar University, DC office, Governor House and GDA hospitals.

“Under green urbanization vision upholding the high spirit of “Gwadar Master Plan”, Gwadar life with saplings and plants is now the order of the day.

Trees, plants and parks are the new scenes. Leaves, flowers and shrubs spell green extravaganza inside Gwadar Port as well as the city limits,” said local leader Noor Ahmed.

Given the proposed Tourism Strategy, a “Ferry Service” is planned to be launched connecting adjoining areas of Gwadar and the neighboring country Iran that will inculcate a startling sense among tourists to be amazed at the sound and sights of Gwadar.

The upcoming strategy will also entail “Festival Tourism”. It will set tourists’ interest ablaze, he claimed and added that Festival Tourism will unlock a sense of thematic festivity offering the people to get introduced with Gwadar’s local events, fairs and carnivals.

“Cultural Tourism” is another valuable aspect that will be incorporated in the proposed draft of Gwadar’s first tourism strategy, he said. Recently Balochistan government launched tourist police in Gwadar to ensure a safe and secure environment for the visitors thronging the coastal city for recreational activities.

Meanwhile, the ecotourism resorts are being built swing with allied facilities in the coastal areas of Balochistan to cater to the needs of local and foreign tourists visiting its beautiful coastal lines.

The construction work on the establishment of tourist resorts in Gwadar is underway. Tourism in Gwadar may be marked as adventure tourism with boat riding, fish catching, some prospects of jeep rally and keeping in view the initiatives of the sea.

With an estimated cost of Rs 3,325.6 million, the Gwadar Safe City Project (Phase I) is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Homes and Tribal Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology under the Government of Balochistan. Key aspects of the project include the installation of optical fiber cables spanning up to 190 kilometers and the placement of multipurpose cameras at 411 locations.

Gwadar Old City Master Plan is in making on fast-track promising new avenues of progress and prosperity for the local community.

Gwadar Old City Master plan features the conservation of historical places, and old markets including Shahi Bazaar, Janaat Bazaar, the rehabilitation of city arteries, the revamping of drainage and sewerage system, skill education for Gwadar’s boat-makers.