ISLAMABAD, Oct 31 (APP): Outgoing Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) Shahid Ashraf Tarar said on Tuesday that over 1400 bn road infrastructure projects have been launched during past four years in all parts of the country most of which would be completed by next year.
This he said while briefing the media here he said that during this period the NHA saved over Rs 240 bn by open, fair and transparent bidding process which amounts to 21 per cent of its overall portfolio.
The Chairman NHA said that the Auditor General in its Audit Report of 2016-17 acknowledged the NHA management has saved precious national wealth through transparency. He quoted the AGp report as saying that the NHA entered into contracts worth Rs 761.90 bn against the bid price of Rs 978.29 billion resulting into saving of Rs 216 billion.Similarly another saving of Rs 134.889 billion was observed by undertaking certain important projects on BOT basis without financing through government exchequer.
Tarar said that in the past, a mega project used to take 8 to 10 years in its years but now all the projects are being completed in time.Moreover he said that in 2013 there were over half a dozen sick projects of the NHA but now most of them have been completed while remaining two are to be completed by December.
Thse projects included Lowari Tunnel,Lyari Expressway, Qaalt-Chaman-Quetta Highway ,Basima-Hoshab Hihgway, Khuzdar Shahdadkot section, and Gwadar-Hosahb section of M-8.
He said for improving north-south connectivity, 13 motorway projects have been launched out of which three have been completed while work on the rest is in full swing.
He said that in 2013 there were only three motorways having 580 km length operational but after completion of 1800 km ongoing projects, total length of motorways would reach 2400 km.Shahid Ashraf Tarar said that all the provinces were being connected through a network of high-quality roads and highways as a number of roads projects had been launched in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
He said that in 2013 only Rs 63 were allocated for NHA under the Public Sector Development Programme which reached Rs 319 billion in the ongoing fiscal year,which was itself indicator of increased road infrastructure development activity in the country.
Similarly,he said that east-west connectivity was being attached importance and road were being built and upgraded for proving better linkages to Balochistan. He said that D I Khan-Zhob section of DI Khan-Kuchlak Highway (N-50) is being upgraded which would be linked with M-1 through Hakla-DI Khan motorway.Moreover Multan-Qila Saifullah Highway (N-70) is also being upgraded with the assistance of JICA and ADB. Similarly 143 km Khuzdar-Rattodero section of the M-8 is being built through Wangu Hills which would link Sukkur with Khuzdar and save about seven to eight hours of travel time.
He said that new link road for Gwadar was also being constructed. He said that NHA has enhanced its revenue collection through toll plazas by 42 per cent during past four years.
About Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects he said that Rs 373 billion off budget projects have been launched during past four years time.
Replying to a question he said that $ 4 billion have been earmarked for road schemes under China Pakistan Economic Corridor project.He said China has been funding two projects including
Thakot-Havelian section and Multan-Sukkur Motorway.
He informed that several ongoing projects would be completed in coming fourteen month times including Karachi-Hyderabad and Khuzdar-Rattodero section would be opened by end of 2017 while
Lahore-Multan Motorway and Sialkot-Lahore Motoway would be opened in April and August 2018 respectively.Moreover he said that two sections of Multan-Sukkur Motorway namely Multan-Ooch Sharif and Sukkur-Sadiqabad sections would be completed by June next year.
To a question, he said that completion of ongoing highway projects of the NHA would on the one hand would save precious travel time and on the other hand it would boost socio-economic activity in those areas.The completion of these projects would enhance trade and business activities in the country besides offering jobs to the people, he said.