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ISLAMABAD: The cost of the Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway project – a crucial stretch for the completion of the Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (PKM) will be revised upward, following several delays.

This was revealed during the Senate Standing Committee on Communications meeting, chaired by Senator Kamil Ali Agha here on Tuesday.

The officials of the National Highways Authority (NHA) briefed the committee on the Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway project. Officials stated that the project, spanning 306 km with a 6-lane fenced motorway, 15 interchanges, and five service stations on each side, is a top priority for the government and the NHA.

Anticipating acceleration with the formation of the new government, the committee was briefed on the revised project cost of Rs 308.194 billion. The matter was deferred for further deliberation and report. The cost of the project was earlier estimated at Rs 307 billion.

The committee, unanimously, recommended renaming the Mini Interchange “Rehmani Khel” at the CPEC road to “Shah Esa” interchange, responding to the demands of the general public and Tehsil Local Government Paharpur, District DI Khan.

Chaired by Senator Agha at the Parliament House on Tuesday, the Senate Communications Committee discussed the resolution passed on 30-08-2023 during the Tehsil Paharpur Session. The committee approved the proposal, emphasising the sentiments of the general public attached to renowned saint Shah Esa (R.A) in the area, with no disputes among the community. They directed the ministry to take appropriate measures.

In an earlier part of the meeting, the committee addressed the urgent appeal to transfer the project from the B & A Department to NHA Pakistan. The public petition, presented by Malak Abdul Qayum Mosa Khail, highlighted corruption in the mega project involving the construction and expansion of Digri Shabozai to Taunsa Sharif (N-70 to N 55 - length 175 km - Balochistan and 65 km - Punjab).

Ministry officials explained to the committee that NHA lacked the financial resources for the federalisation of any new road, even for operation and maintenance of its existing road network. The committee debated that if NHA desires to take up the project, it would only be possible on a Deposit Work basis, requiring consent from the provincial governments of Balochistan and Punjab, along with the transfer of requisite funds and conditional NOCs from concerned provincial departments. Consequently, the committee deferred the matter, instructing the summoning of concerned provincial departments to brief on the project works as per the NHA code.

The consideration of criteria for the construction of interchanges and right of way on motorways was also deferred. The committee chairman emphasised that the matter pertains to policy-making and should be deferred until the formation of the new government.

The meeting was attended by senators, Shamim Afridi, Danesh Kumar, and Abida Muhammad Azeem, as well as representatives from the attached departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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Maqbool Feb 14, 2024 03:01pm
A project delayed since 1998 is now a “ top priority for the government and the NHA.“ Clueless management that doesn’t realize that exports need a road from Punjab to Karachi Port to go to markets.
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