ISLAMABAD: China has granted more than 5 billion Y RMB in Gwadar on several socio-economic projects during the last 7 years to improve the living standard of local populationunder Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives.
This was revealed by Chairman China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) Zhang Baozhong during a two-day conference on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Initiatives held in Gwadar.
He pointed out that the grant is dedicated to New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA), East Bay Expressway, 300-bed China-Pakistan Friendship Hospital, China-Pakistan Vocational and Technical Training Institute, China-Pakistan Gwadar Faqeer Middle School, China-Pakistan Fraternity Emergency Center, and the 1.2 MGD desalination plant so far.
“NGIA will have the longest runway, 3.78 km, in the region, equipped with a capacity to handle the largest aircraft. The tourism sector will inevitably boom,” Mr. Zhang said. With its operationalization, new resorts will be established attracting many tourists from China and other countries, he added.
While speaking at length about the experiences of his 7 years’ stay in Gwadar, the COPHC chairman said: “We are cognizant of the fact that Gwadar deserves more rapid development to live up to the expectations of the local people. There is no denying the fact that it has developed much during the past 7 years.”
He stated three reasons for the promising prospects of Gwadar: the cooperation of the Gwadar people, its vast resources, and its strategic location. “The inhabitants of Gwadar deserve respect and development”, Mr. Zhang undercored.
Mr. Zhang made it clear that Gwadar port is fully functional. Some problems do exist like logistics and lack of market demand, however, development is an evolutionary process and Gwadar is on its way towards industrialization, he mentioned.
After the completion of M8, he said, cargos will be able to reach Lahore and other major cities, reducing the distance significantly. “4 new Chinese investors are coming to Gwadar to explore opportunities and investment potentials in the refinery, textile, petrochemical and agricultural sectors,” acclaimed the chairman.
COPHC is one of the major players in Gwadar and has undertaken remarkable steps in Gwadar’s development. “Gwadar is my second home and we are ready to collaborate with local community in educational development. We can offer exchange programs for the students and academics of Gwadar. Through the scientific research laboratory we will impart sophisticated know-how to the local youth”, Mr. Zhang pronounced. It has been observed that for the pursuit of a clean and green Gwadar, more than 50,000 plants were planted, predominantly spearheaded by COPHC.
Co-organized by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Islamabad, University of Gwadar, and COPHC, speakers included Commodore Jawad Akhtar, Advisor Maritime Affairs, Chairman COPHC Mr. Zhang Baozhong, Chairman Gwadar Port Authority Mr. Naseer Khan Kashani, Vice-chancellor University of Gwadar Prof. Abdul Razzaq Sabir, and Chairman IPS Mr. Khalid Rehman.
The conference was followed by a round-table discussion and a detailed question and answers session. Representatives of Gwadar civil society probed into the CSR initiatives undertaken by Chinese enterprises in Gwadar which were satisfactorily responded to by the authorities of COPHC.
Eventually, the media team visited China-Pakistan Vocational and Technical Training Institute and other sites under CSR to witness the pace of progress. They interacted with the local students to observe their views. The visitors were appreciative of the efforts of Chinese companies in overhauling the healthcare and education systems and in providing job opportunities to the locals of Gwadar.