ISLAMABAD, Oct 16 (APP): Chairman National Highway Authority Syed Muhammad Ali Gardezi said on Sunday that NHA has decided to undertake several major highway projects through public-private partnership on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis. In the first phase the NHA plans to build Hyderabad-Karachi Motorway (M-9) project under the BOT arrangement which would also encourage other private parties to invest in such projects, the NHA chief told APP. He said that some other projects like Lyari Expressway Project (left over work), additional carriageway of Karachi Northern Bypass (M-10) and overlay and modernization of Islamabad-Lahore Motorway may also be completed with the cooperation of private sector assistance on BOT basis.
Gardezi said that the NHA is soliciting proposals from well reputed national as well international private construction consortia to finance, design, develop, construct, operate, manage and transfer these projects.
About ongoing NHA projects he said that when he took over as NHA chairman a few months ago, work on most of the projects had been suspended due to non-availability of funds and contractors liabilities were over Rs 14 billion.
Gardezi said the biggest challenge that he faced was to restart work on the suspended projects. Under the guidance of the Prime Minister in the first phase work has been restarted on those projects on which 60 per cent work had already been finished.
To a question, Gardezi said that this year there will be no shortage of funds as Rs 39 billion have been allocated for Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). He said that National Highway Council has allocated provinces shares in the PSDP so that there are no complaints from any unit of the federation.
About Kallar Kahar road mishap he said that National Highway and Motorway Police (NH&MP) officials can partially be blamed for school bus tragedy, but other departments and factors were major cause of the mishap.
For preventing such accidents in future there is a proposal to lower the carriageway where several accidents have taken place. He said that due to lack of funds at this point there was no proposal to look for a new alignment but study was being done to correct design fault at the spot.
He said the bus was over thirty-year old and unfit to come on any main road and it was driven by the owner of the bus, not a professional driver.
The NHA chairman said that presently the National Highway Authority (NHA), is working on Rs 600 billion highway projects out of which some are nearing completion while the others will be completed within one or two years time.
About the issue of overloading on highways, he said that due to this phenomenon road damage ratio in Pakistan is much higher as most of the weigh stations on the national highways are operational.
He said that even if they are working, imposition of fine serves no purpose because the truckers already charge additional fare for over-loaded goods.
The answer to this problem is to unload the quantity of goods beyond approved weight and for this purpose warehouses would be set up near the weigh stations.
He said that one such weigh station is being set up on M-9 where extra burden will be unloaded besides imposition of fine.
Replying to a question about toll plazas on Motorways and National Highways, the NHA chairman said that the plan is afoot to convert all toll plazas to Electronic Toll and Traffic Management System (ETTM) which would bring transparency in their working and double the toll income.