ISLAMABAD, April 4 (APP) – As per vision of the Pakistan People’s Party leadership, Ministry of Communications has launched Rs. 129114.3 million for development of Pakistan’s road network which will lower trade costs and enhance competitiveness of Pakistani products besides reduction in accidents and enhanced safety. The newly launched projects after their completion will play an important role in future socio-economic development of Pakistan. The new road projects have been initiated all over the country so that the benefit of the improved infrastructure reaches common man in all parts of the country.
Talking to APP Minister for Communications Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan said that Pakistan’s economic development depends on improvement and modernization of its transport sector. “Roads have become the most important segment of transport sector in Pakistan with ever increasing reliance on road transportation”, he added.
He said National Highway Authority (NHA) network plays a major role in all-weather reliability, reduced transportation costs and increased access to markets for local produce and products, access to new employment centers, employment of local workers on the project, better access to health care and other social services, strengthening of local economies etc.
The minister said that keeping in view the futuristic economic needs of the country, Ministry of Communications through NHA is working on an action plan to develop National Trade Corridor (NTC) within the country.
Creation of NTC would not only facilitate the national, regional and international trade but also create a lot of job opportunities in the country and will usher the country into a new era of economic and financial activity.
The NTC envisages international standard road network from the roof of the world, Khunjrab Pass to ports of Karachi and Gwadar and Border with Iran. Rs 312 billion have been earmarked for NTC project and the construction work on the highways, expressways and motorways is underway.
Last year’s floods played havoc with the National Highways and Ministry of Communications had to combat with an emergency situation where many major roads were damaged due to the heavy rains and floods. Due to the urgency of the situation NHA adopted a two phased strategy; firstly it concentrated on restoration of traffic and in second phase it focused on rehabilitation of road to pre-flood level.
Most of the rehabilitation work was completed in next 72 hours but some spots where the damage was enormous, the rehabilitation work took some time but it was carried out on priority basis and the traffic was mobilized. Due to these unprecedented rains 46 bridges and 639 km of roads were damaged and NHA spent about Rs. 800 million on their temporary restoration from its own resources.
The damage assessed to the National Highway Network was of Rs. 13.7 Billion while the amount assessed for its restoration and rehabilitation is Rs 17.4 billion.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh were the most damaged provinces with damage cost of Rs. 7.7 billion and Rs 3.4 billion respectively. Punjab’s damage was assessed to Rs. 1.06 billion, AJK Rs.742 Million, Gilgit-Baltistan Rs. 423 million and Balochistan Rs. 320 million. The rehabilitation cost for KPK, Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan Gilgit Baltistan and AJK was assessed to Rs. 9.3 billion, Rs. 4.6 billion, Rs 1.4 billion, Rs. 473 Million, Rs. 525 million and Rs.983 million respectively.
The NHA is upgrading toll collection system on modern lines and pragmatic steps are being taken to control overloading and encroachments all along the NHA network. The NHA is trying its level best to build environment friendly highways and to provide a safe and sound traveling to the road users.