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Event Title: Senator Prince Ahmed Umer Ahmedzai Presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Communications at Parliament House.

Event Date: 2023-05-16

The Senate Standing Committee on Communications on Tuesday adopted the recommendations made by Senator Mustaq Ahmed Khan on the point of Public Importance on the excessive use of arable land for the construction of Swat Motorway in Contravention of the recommendations made by the Senate’s Functional Committee on Problems of less developed areas to be further communicated to the Chief Minister.
The committee discussed at length the province wise details of ongoing and new road projects which have been prioritized for allocation of funds in the current fiscal year and the criteria for prioritization of the same. The committee was apprised that the projects near to completion (80-90pc) are at top priority. It was also apprised that the allocation of projects and its funds is as per the government’s policy government. It was further apprised that the total funds released up till 3rd quarter is 24 Billion Rupees. It was apprised that NHA demands annual allocation on the basis of work planned to be executed in the given year. Whereas, annual allocations for the financial year are finalized by Ministry of PD&SI on the basis of resource envelop available for PSD projects.
Similarly the committee while taking briefing on the Province wise district wise allocation and disbursement of funds made since March 2021 against ongoing and new projects on road construction, rehabilitation and improvement with complete detail of each project. It was apprised that the total number of 114,675.855, 117,750.000 and 111,253.402 Million rupees were allocated for the year 2020-21 ,2021-22, and 2022-23 respectively for all the provinces out of which 57,212.896 , 73,700.642 and 27,444.916 Million rupees funds were released up till 1st March to 30 June, 2021, 2022 and April 20th 23 respectively.

The committee also discussed project wise detail of funds allocated and disbursed since March 2021 in DI Khan Division and the reason for giving priority in funds allocation and disbursement to the projects occurring in this area over others areas of the country. It was apprised that no prior projects were allocated to this area however 2 projects for the year 2022-23 have been allocated for DI khan in the dualization of Indus River Highway. The committee sought details of the contractor in the next meeting.

Similarly the committee took briefing on the steps being taken to speed up the completion the Karachi -Chaman- Quetta ( N-25) Highway project along with details of funds allocated and disbursed on this project since March 2021. The committee was apprised that National Highway 25 is the backbone of Balochistan and the main artery of NHA network in Pakistan as it connects Sindh with Balochistan and further to central Asian Countries. It was apprised that working on its completion is in progress and will birth to Quetta ring road. Senator Kamil Ali Agha inquired about the completion period of Lowari Tunnel. The Secretary Communications replied that the Lowari Tunnel project was started in 2001-02; he said that we are clearing the bills of the last 15-20 years, and said that Civil works are almost completed. The previous government started an inquiry into it; the inquiry went on for three to four years, he further said that It was earlier a rail tunnel, it was converted into a road tunnel, Senator Kamil Ali Agha lamented as how much money would have been saved if it had been completed earlier, Kamil Ali Agha. The Secretary communications said that the the first Tunneling Institute was created by the FWO, and said that for the first time in 75 years, Tunneling Institute has been created.

While giving details of funds allocated and disbursed for khuzdar-kuchlak Dualization Project N -25 (330 km), it was informed that funds allocated were 3,000 Million rupees and 6000 Million rupees in the year 2021-22 and 23, out of which 1,497 and 2,200 has been utilized respectively. The NHA officials informed the committee that the work of 256 km of Khuzdar-Kuchlak Motorway has been started. The total cost of Khuzdar Kuchlak project is Rs 81 billion and 58 crore, 6 billion rupees have been released in PSDP 2022-23 for Khuzdar Kuchlak project and 7 to 8 percent work on sections one and two of Khuzdar-Kuchlak N-25 project has been completed. It was informed that the contractor is mobilizing on Section 3 and 4 of Khuzdar Kuchlak, and section five is being re-surveyed due to conflict with DHA.

While discussing the steps taken to reconstruct the Pinjra Bridge Bolan. The committee was apprised that Pinjara Bridge, National Highway N -65, completely washed out in 2022 due to super monsoon floods. The NHA constructed diversion at Bridge Location & restored traffic. Now the matter has been taken up for re-construction of Pinjara Bridge with Asian Developement Bank. Loan agreement has been signed and procurement has been initiated, pre-qualification documents would be received on 23 may 2023. It was also briefed that meanwhile NHA will construct Irish causeway for uninterrupted flow of traffic and the financial bids will be opened on 15th May, 2023. The committee directed that the project should be completed on emergency basis and recommended to outsource the project to FWO. It was further informed by the NHA officials that France had gifted an emergency bridge for Panjara, The French bridge is shorter in length and can carry less weight. Senator Ghafoor Haideri mentioned about the Prime Minister package of 10 billion rupees for Balochistan, and inquired if NHA received any money out of these ten billion rupees. The NHA officials informed that NHA has not received any money from the Balochistan package. It was also apprised that 32 bridges will be built across the country with Asian Development Bank loan, and 2 packages have been made for construction of 18 bridges in Balochistan.

The chairman committee also inquired on the total amount of expenditure on the projects being executed by M/s SMADP in Balochistan.

The meeting was attended by Senators Shamim Afridi, Muhammad Akram, Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Hafiz Abdul Karim, Umer Farooq, Kamil Ali Agha, Ahmed Khan, Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and Senator Mushtaq Ahmed. Senior Officials from the Ministry of Communications and NHA and other relevant departments were also in attendance.