Islamabad, Monday, November 15, 2010
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The deep sea scam at Clifton Beach

Recreation site sold for commercial gains

Heavy Investment on beach development and multi-storey residences threatened | Multi-billion dollar scam: huge corruption and wrong site selection | MQM Minister conspicuously silent | PM never visited the beach site

From Abdul Jabbar Khan

Despite strong political, public and media opposition the work for building a deep sea container terminal at the Clifton beach continues in full swing and the only recreation site for the people of Karachi has been sold out as development of the deep sea terminal continues.
The conspicuous silence by the Prime Minister, Ports and Shipping Minister and Chairman Public Accounts Committee and Transparency International has added weight to the fact that the massive corruption behind the deal involving the selection of a wrong site and building the project in the residential area would bring about a disastrous result.
Multi billion residential projects have no future now at Clifton beach where residents are already suffering due to thousands of oil tankers parked on the Marine drive. If the project of containers is completed, then millions of tonnes of containers will add to the problems of the area.
The Daily Mail has already exposed this project with alleged gross corruption and unauthorised site selection of an uncalled for terminal project at the only recreation and entertainment site. The exclusive investigative story was published on November 1, 2010. The project involves over USD 1.4 billion. The question of kickbacks, irregularities and violation of public procurement laws etc are the probing questions which even the NAB or FIA, cannot investigate with all fairness.
The pro-PPP men commonly known as jiyalas are appointed as heads, despite strong reservations by opposition and public opinion leaders. The proposed project which has started huge stone dumping in the Arabian Sea is closely located at a distance of one kilometre from Bilawal House and the worthy resident of this house, the President of Pakistan did not care about such a gross violation.
The Karachi Port Trust clarified that that the Prime Minister was the chief guest at the ground breaking ceremony. But the fact is otherwise as the ceremony was never held at the Clifton beach Site where the “Deep Sea Project” is being constructed and where heavy reclamation and dykes are being developed.
Huge dumpers and heavy stones are being dumped into the Arabian Sea which is an open area on the beach having no jetty. Obviously it will result in regular dredging for every year’s monsoon causing a huge loss to the national exchequer. The recreational and beach sites are meant for entertainment and not for huge heavy containers or oil tanker traffic.

Now the container terminal will also cause huge pollution, law and order problems in the area where heavy investment is under way and people who have invested billions of rupees for acquiring residences in beach side apartments are found helpless and wanting…longing that the Supreme Court should intervene expose and resolve this extraordinary, unprecedented and biggest port scandal in the history of Pakistan.
The ministry of port of shipping Islamabad is silent on the issue while there are political parties, leaders of public opinion and the media, which have pointed out this to one and all. The Daily Mail led the exposure of this project scandal for the first time, looking forward to some action…but the government itself is a party to the sin. It is supporting the KPT officials who are only appointed on political consideration. The KPT Chairperson is a real sister of the former secretary to the Prime Minister and close PPP Jiyala Siraj Shamsuddin. He was appointed in the Asian Bank following the NRO cases’ re-opening. He feared arrest and managed to leave Pakistan. He was a beneficiary of the NRO. He got his sister appointed as the Chairperson of the Karachi Port. She was previously serving Pakistan Railways and has no experience whatsoever of ports and shipping affairs.
The Federal Minister, Babar Khan Ghauri, is also “silent” on the exposure of this scandal. The experts who worked some 20 years back with the Karachi Port disclosed that the Planning and Development Department of the port had already conducted successful studies on the port’s eastern and western waters.
A 100-berth project was planned in consultation with foreign experts and Japanese assistance was also used for this study. This provides safely for any new terminal or cargo handling terminal. The new chairperson, having no experience of any kind of ports and shipping was not aware of this feasibility and study of the western water involving new berths.
The port, which has no excess problem for incoming container and cargo as the existing is already available through the Mauripur Road to the Northern By-Pass. This new brainchild based on massive corruption at the site was selected on the recreational beach and residential area.
The Prime Minister never bothered to undertake a visit to Marine Drive and see as to what the project is and where it is proposed to be built. If he visits it even today he will find for himself that the site is not at all feasible in the residential area for such a huge container terminal involving over 3.1 million tonne equivalent units.
The local political leadership has called this project a test case for the MQM chief.
KPT clarification:
Did the Prime Minister visit the site?
KPT in its “rejoinder” to The Daily Mail says: “Tthe Karachi Port Trust has taken the initiative of bracing itself to handle and cater for fifth and sixth generation ships. This involves the development of a deep water container port at Keamari groyne which is the natural choice for such a port.
“The growth of container cargo at the port is envisaged at 8% over 25 years. Both our container terminals are presently working over capacity, in order to cater for future requirement of establishing Karachi Deep Water Container Port within KPT port limits has been considered essentially by a study conducted by the team of consultants of project _ M/s Royal Heskoning, M/s Scot Wilson and M/s HR Wallingford of UK.
“In all phases of the project all formalities have been followed to ensure a transparent sequence of events – from the selection of contracts to the award of contracts. Given the specialised nature of the work to be performed and the expertise required for the same, the works had been widely publicised in international and national media to ensure competitive bidding. The viability of KDWCP with respect to the geographical location of the Port was further proved when a response to the KPT’s request for proposals for setting up of the KDWCP, four world renowned firms responded. After an exhaustive exercise of evaluation of the most competitive bid M/s Hutchison Port Holdings Limited (HPC) of Hong Kong has been awarded the Concession in November 2007.
In 2006 M/s HPH handled 5.1 million TEUs worldwide and of which 13.1 million were transhipment. HPH operates 257 berths in 45 ports in 23 countries along with a number of transportation related service companies. M/s Hutchison Port Holdings Limited Hong Kong will be required to develop the site into a full fledged state of the art Container Terminal capable of receiving and handling Super Post Panamax Container Ships. Terminal Capacity will be 3.1 million TEUs. Expected initial investment by M/s HPH is US$ 457 million with guaranteed royalty to KPT of USD 1.142 billion. With the lease amount, wharfage and wet charges the total revenue to KPT is envisaged to the tune of US$ 2.524 billion.
KPT further said, “Presently the work on the infrastructure development of the major modules of the KDWCP, ie., the dredging and reclamation works, the marine protection works and quay wall construction works is in progress.
The dredging and reclamation contract has been signed and the project ground breaking ceremony was performed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Gilani in April, 2009. Total 33 million cubic meters dredging including 8 million cubic meters reclamation is to be done at a cost of Rs.19,000 million (19 billion rupees). To date 3.5 million cubic meters dredging and 1.436 million cubic meters reclamation and 4.3 million cubic meters stockpiling has been done by the firm. The second component is Marine Protection Works in which three breakwaters and a sand dyke are planned to be built. The contract has been signed at a cost of Rs.12.8 billion and completion is expected in 2012.Presently the firm has stockpiled 356446 cubic meters core material, 2316 cubic meters armour rock and has started the construction of Keamari and Oyster Rocks breakwater.
“The contract for Quay Wall been signed at a cost of Rs.18 billion. The firms is presently mobilising. The impact on natural environment has been thoroughly studied, fulfilling all formalities according to the federal government environmental regulations. The KPT’s flagship project of Pakistan Deep Water Container Port is destined to flourish and attract foreign investment.”
The Karachi Port Trust intentionally ignored the issue of alleged irregularities, favouritism and nepotism in awarding of the project involving over 100 billion PKR of the national exchequer. It believes that it will be “economically feasible.” It has never clarified as to why the only recreational and entertaining spot, Clifton beach, was selected, and why the 100-berths western water adjacent to Fisheries and West Wharf was ignored for which exhaustive studies were carried out by port experts in collaboration with Japanese and other experts of international repute.
The project, according to sources is nothing but aimed at money-minting by higher ups in the ministry, as well as the port officials who had their own interests than the national importance and vitality. There has been no clarification as to how a person, blacklisted by the KPT, was in the forefront of getting the project and finally succeeded in doing so. The port never entertained any question of transparency and a fear of investigations or a notice by the vibrant supreme judiciary of Pakistan, for any query, in an unprecedented port and shipping scam of the country.
Box Item Pls
A test case of corruption for MQM Chief Altaf Hussain
The Ministry of Ports and Shipping has been a source of attraction for many in the race. Previously State Minister Ahmed Ali was allegedly involved in the corruption case and was asked by the party to relinquish the charge and he followed the order. This time Nabil Gabol, State Minister for Ports and Shipping wanted to be a full fledged federal minister, however, given the MQM in the coalition government, the PPP had to forego this coveted post and the MQM nominee Babar Khan Ghauri was assigned the portfolio as Federal Minister.
Now, when the issue of an unprecedented scam in the history of the country’s ports and shipping has been unearthed by The Daily Mail, again the prestige, reputation and alleged involvement of Minister(s) cannot be ruled out. The only recreational and entertaining spot, Clifton Beach, has been turned in to a Container Terminal with an estimated capacity of 3.1 million TEUs . This will ruin Clifton Beach.
Now the people will certainly see the role of the MQM Chief, Altaf Hussain, as to how he protects the rights of the people of Karachi -- the MQM is the majority representative party of Karachi. The affairs of the KPT remained in the headlines even when the former Chairman KPT ,Admiral ® Ahmed Hyat played the role of a puppet, in the hands of former military ruler General ® Pervez Musharraf.

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