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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel was informed Tuesday that there are total 91 ongoing projects at present, of which 18 are substantially completed, 31 ongoing schemes, nine new schemes, 28 proposed new schemes, five public-private partnership (PPP) projects, and the estimated cost of these projects is Rs2,476,081.62.

The Senate Standing Committee on Communications, which met here with Senator Umer Ahmedzai in the chair, was given a detailed briefing by secretary communications Zafar Hassan about the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2022-23.

He said that the average amount which the Communications Ministry receives every year is around Rs100 billion, adding the ministry spends 70 to 80pc of that amount on ongoing projects and 20pc on new projects.

Ahmedzai said that the ministry should complete the ongoing projects without any delay in order to avoid in a case of cost escalation owing to delay in completion of projects.

While discussing the point of public importance regarding E-tag vehicles raised by Senator Mehr Taj Roghani, inspector general Motorway Police Inam Ghani assured the committee that Motorway Police is strictly implementing the E-tag SOPs and also has so far fined 3,000 vehicles over lane violation.

He informed the committee that the weight of traffic was enormous near Ravi Toll Plaza and Kala Shah Kaku and it was the Lahore High Court (LHC) directive to reduce the weight of traffic in these areas due to which the NHA started the E-Tag facility.

“Around 3.5 lakh people availed the E-tag facility and to make this facility more efficient, NHA has been planning to increase the number of booth at each M-2 motorway toll Plaza and also intending to provide this E-tag facility at Excise and Taxation Offices”, he added.

He said that the NHA has started online payment for E-tag and convincing public to follow SOPs in this regard.

The committee also discussed the cost of construction of per kilometer road with comparison between previous and present government.

Secretary Communications told the committee that the cost of one kilometer road of 2-Lane Highway was Rs118.171 million in 2013-2018 and the cost of the same in 2018 to date is Rs11.385 million.

The committee chairman was of view that the cost is tender cost and price of project can be increased in case of postponement of project.

He also directed the ministry to submit a detailed report of cost comparison to the committee in the next meeting.

Regarding promotion status of deputy superintendent of police, senior patrol officers, and patrol officers appointed in 2001, the IG Motorway Police apprised the committee that the issue of promotion of DSPs to SPOs is pending before the board which will be taken up on February 28.

Ahmedzai proposed that there should be continuous meeting of the promotion board instead of holdings two or three meetings in a year, so that no one remains deprived of his/her right.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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