Islamabad – The Federal government has turned down a request of the Balochistan government seeking permission for issuing no-objection certificates for starting new housing societies at Gwadar .

“Unless the Gwadar city master plan is finalized, no NOCs will be issued to new housing societies in the port city,” official sources told The Nation.

At a meeting with Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal, the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) had requested for lifting a ban on the issuance of NOCs for the new housing societies but the federal minister made it clear that no NOCs could be issued until the finalization of city master plan, the sources said. The ban was imposed by the federal government early in 2017 and it was unlikely to be lifted till August 2018, the source said.

An official said that a large number of developers have approached the GDA during recent months for starting housing societies and the required NOCs for starting operations. He said that the government could not allow haphazard developmental activities in the port city. Iqbal has directed the GDA that a mushroom growth of private sector residential societies should be discouraged prior to the completion of the Gwadar city master plan.

The Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan, a one-year project costing $4 million (Chinese grant), was launched in August 2017. It envisages preparation of a detailed master plan including city planning and urban design, city transportation and design, energy, technology and connectivity infrastructure and policies, port city economic planning, community participation and empowerment, disaster-risk management and integrated business development plan for the city and the port etc.

The master plan also includes a programme for the resettlement of the existing dwellers of the port city. The relocation is a major task and the government wants to accomplish it peacefully. “To ensure the calm, the government will definitely offer attractive incentives to the existing dwellers of the port city in their new abode,” the official said.

Currently, there are 103 housing societies operating at Gwadar . Of the total, three housing schemes at Gwadar are being implemented by the provincial government while 100 schemes are being operated by private developers. “The private housing societies have a total of 15000 acres but a majority of them were dormant and 75 of them were suspended recently,” said an official of the GDA. The official said that a new committee is being set up which will evaluate the performance of the private housing societies every six months and the non-performing developers will be axed. To fill the gap of the suspended housing societies and to bring fresh investment in the real estate, the GDA had approached the federal government seeking permission for allowing issuing the NOCs but it was turned down, the official said.

“Now, the newcomers will have to wait till the finalization of the city master plan which is likely to be ready by August 2018,” the official added.