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ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Communications, on Tuesday, passed “the National Highways Safety Ordinance, 2000” with amendments proposing increase in fine from Rs500 to Rs25,000 and one-month imprisonment on driving under the influence of drugs and the penalty limit will be increased from Rs25,000 to Rs50,000 and six months imprisonment on repeated violations.

Prince Ahmad Umer Ahmedzai presided over the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Communications held here on Tuesday.

Secretary Communic-ations Zafar Hasan, Chairman National Highways Authority Capt Muhammad Khurram Agha (retired) and senior officers of the Ministry of Communications (MOC) and the National Highways Authority (NHA) attended the meeting.

The meeting of the Standing Committee reviewed in detail the private member’s bill for amending the National Highways Safety Ordinance, 2000, which was introduced by Senator Mohsin Aziz in the Senate session on November 8, 2021.

Amendments were passed in the National Highways Safety Ordinance 2000.

Amendment bill introduced by Senator Mohsin Aziz in which new rules will be framed for those who drive under the influence of drugs under which a fine of up to Rs25,000 will be imposed or one month’s imprisonment or both.

Senator Mohsin Aziz said that if the same person is caught driving again using drugs then the penalty limit will be increased from Rs25,000 to Rs50,000 and one-month imprisonment will be increased to six months.

The Committee on National Highways Safety 2000 (Amendment) Bill, which was introduced by Senator Behrmand Khan Tangi in the Senate session on January 6, 2020 and presented by the chairman Senate on January 25, 2021 for reconsideration and report in the Standing Committee meeting, directed Senator Behrmand Khan Tangi and Senator Dinesh Kumar to hold a detailed consultative meeting on the bill in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications.

The committee reviewed the widening and rehabilitation plan of the section of National Highway (N-35) from Muslimabad, Havelian to Shahina Jamil Hospital, passing through Abbottabad city.

The secretary Ministry of Communications said that the project includes widening of 17 km from Havelian to Abbottabad.

According to the first PC-1 of the project, Rs11.4 billion was set aside in 2017 after consultation with the district government and could not be implemented due to objections raised by the Planning Commission.

The meeting was told, the NHA is undertaking steps for widening and rehabilitation of section of National Highway (N-35) from Muslimabad, Havelian to Shahina Jamil Hospital passing through Abbottabad city.

To this effect, it was further told that upon receipt of response of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, the PC-I for land would be processed for approval of CDWP/ECNEC.

The committee directed that the district government will again determine the cost of the land and send it to the secretary, Ministry of Communications, so that it can be implemented as soon as possible.

On an observation by Senator Kamil Agha, Chairman National Highways Authority Capt(retired) Muhammad Khurram Agha told the committee that as per directive of Prime Minister Office, a mechanism has been evolved to control prices and quality of items on motorways to facilitate the travelers.

According to which, list of prices shall be placed at prominent places at restaurants, tuck shops etc set up at rest areas and service areas.

Banners are to be placed with designation and telephone numbers of concerned officials. In case of overcharging and sale of sub-standard items, travelers may contact at the given numbers.

The NHA, as per clauses of contract will take action against the violators.

The NHA has also formed teams for proper checking and keeping an eye on the system.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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