KARACHI: Federal Caretaker Minister for Maritime, Defence and Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Hussain Haroon on Friday said that the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) had planned to set up a big desalination plant with a capacity of 150 MGD drinkable water and 3,000MW power supply to the city; especially to its South district.
He stated this while briefing media persons at KPT Head Office after presiding over a meeting to review progress of the port projects.
Chairman KPT, Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar sitting beside him also answered some queries from reporters.
The minister said that many new projects were being initiated at Port Qasim by private sector.
The minister said that a big portion of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) land had been encroached.
As a result of continuing encroachment at the port’s entrance and exit points, after some years cargo movement shall become very difficult. If, unfortunately, this happens, the city will loose a potential seaport of KPT and millions of people will lose their jobs directly or indirectly.
Abdullah Hussain Haroon regretted that past Sindh governments did not help KPT authorities to vacate the large scale illegal occupation and encroachments on the port land.
He shared that 550 MGD sewage flowed into the sea which was another threat to KPT. This caused big loss to the echo system and health of the citizens as the sewage went back to them along with winds from the sea.
Two days earlier, he had visited Port Qasim Port. Today, he was visiting Karachi Port and in next couple of days, he would hold a detailed meeting on Pakistan National Shipping Corporation. All this was being done to review the affairs of these strategic organizations, which was needed to rectify the wrong actions/decisions by the previous governments.
Port Qasim was the port of future, which has big capacity for expansion. However, Karachi Port had also a big history and great contribution in the country’s economy. It is a source of livelihood to big population of the city.
He said after review meetings on KPT, Port Qasim and PNSC, there would be very good ideas and recommendations for reforms in the ports and shipping industry.
Next week in Islamabad, he added, these things/issues would be taken up and guidelines would be finalized for the next elected government. It would have to come up with many projects at KPT’s entry and exit routes without disturbing the city life.
“With very limited time, at least we shall try to leave the best planning for the future,” he remarked.
He expressed his satisfaction that after a long time USA was making investment at Port Qasim and Kamrah. This rejected the impression that after more involvement of China including launch of CPEC, the Western countries were reluctant to invest here.
He also proposed that more influx of population to Karachi from other areas of the country should be stopped as the city already was facing many civic and administrative problems.
“60 to 70 percent of the city was already illegally occupied,” he expressed his concern.
He said that in the past, havoc had been played with the economic hub of the country and the international city of Karachi.
” Education and health facilities, and other infrastructure of the city was destroyed,” he said.
To a query from media, KPT Chairman Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar admitted that the port faced problems in cargo movement because of congestion at its entry and exit points. KPT along with Pakistan Railways had been working for enhancing the cargo movement capacity. Against 186, now 4500 bogies were carrying cargo to Up-country per month.KPT was also working on Clifton roads to improve connectivity with the port.
He said KPT was also seriously working on construction of elevated expressway and trade corridor between KPT and Port Qasim. Its three main components would be road and railways networks and LNG pipeline through the sea.
The corridor would cost around dollars ten billion. China and Western countries had shown their keenness to invest in it, he said.
This corridor would benefit a lot and that for next 100 years there would no issue of congestion, he said.
Earlier, the Minister visited Karachi Port and held a detailed session with the KPT management, wherein KPT Chairman briefed him on the infrastructure of the port besides other projects of the port like the Shuttle Freight Train from KPT to Dhabeji, Chemical and Edible Oil Terminal, Cargo Village and Industrial Park.
The Minister took keen interest in the Shuttle Freight Train from KPT to Dhabeji project. -APP