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ISLAMABAD: The National Highways Authority (NHA) is facing a shortfall of around Rs45 billion annually for proper maintenance of its network, said Member Coordination Asim Amin.

Addressing an open katchehri, the NHA’s Member said that the total length of the NHA network is about 13,000 km and maintenance activities on its various segments continue round the year. Traffic volume on Rawalpindi-Lahore GT Road is increasing day-by-day and its maintenance stands among its priorities.

He informed that Rs70-80 billion are required per annum for proper maintenance of the NHA network. While available amounts tune to Rs30-35 billion per annum which are collected from toll tax. In such a state, the NHA has to determine priorities for maintenance of various sections of the NHA network.

He also requested the travellers to avail facility of M-Tag to avoid long traffic queues at toll plazas.

To date about 30-40 percent people are availing M-Tag facility. He further said, Balkasar-Mianwali-Muzaffargarh Road, after federalisation, has been given in the control of the NHA.

The NHA now is planning and designing for its up gradation and dualisation.

In order to provide immediate relief to the travellers, the NHA is awarding contracts to make these roads potholes-free. He said the NHA is also working for dualisation of 1,264 km long Indus Highway, starting from Peshawar to Jamshoro and Hyderabad.

The Indus Highway is being completed with the cooperation of the Asian Development Bank. He said dualisation of Indus Highway will be completed by 2027.

The distance of Indus Highway is 450 km less as compared to the GT Road (N-5) between Karachi and Peshawar.

He further said that the project of Shahdara Flyover near Lahore possesses great significance and the NHA is working for early start of work on this project. The flyover will greatly help to overcome traffic congestion there. He said that the feasibility report of flyover will be completed by June this year, and the contract will be awarded by November 2021.

He further said as per the directive of the Prime Minister’s Office, complaints regarding overcharging and provision of sub-standard items at motorway service/rest areas are being attended promptly. To this effect, the NHA has formed special teams which raided on the spot and took action against those responsible.

He appealed to the travellers to obtain receipt of shopping and compare the rates shown on receipt with the rates declared by the local administration also displayed there.

In case of overcharging, complaints may be lodged at the phone numbers provided.

He assured that necessary immediate action will be taken against the defaulters.

Amin said Karachi-Quetta-Chaman Highway (N-25) is an important link between Balochistan and Sindh provinces. The NHA is undertaking all possible steps for its dualisation.

He said the NHA is attaching importance to the upgradation of Thakot-Raikot section. He informed that work on the WAPDA’s dams projects were also located on this highway and that consultancy work of this project is underway.

He said the PC-I for construction of Chitral-Shandur Road has been approved, and this project is in tendering process. This important project will be started in the next two to three months.

Speaking about Soan Bridge project Rawalpindi, he said, work of shifting of utilities is being completed at a rapid pace. Completion of construction work for Soan Bridge project will be completed this year. He further informed that designing and tendering work of Zhob-Kuchlak Highway (N-50) is completed and construction activities will be started in 4-6 weeks. Hakla-DI Khan Motorway will be completed in the next few months.

He said Sialkot-Kharain-Rawalpindi Motorway project is an important project.

After designing steps are being taken to bring it into the tendering process. The NHA is continuously conducting operations against encroachments established in its right of way, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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