ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Communications on Saturday discussed and reviewed the progress of work on Hasanabdal Manshera Expressway Project (E- 35) during its meeting held in Haripur under the chairmanship of Senator Ismail Buledi and Senator Zahid Khan. Local MPA Assad Khan, National Highway Authority (NHA) chairman, the Hazara Division commissioner, Haripur deputy commissioner and other higher ups were also present in the meeting.

NHA Chairman Syed Muhammad Ali Gardezi said that the expressway, a total of 110 kilometres, starts from Burhan Interchange (M-1) and ends at Manshera. Its implementation is planned in two phases: Phase 1, Hasanabdal – Havelian (59km) and Phase 2, Havelian – Manshera (51km).

The project is jointly funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Pakistan and will cost a total of Rs 46.8 billion, he said, adding that the standing committee was told that design and documentation has been forwarded to ADB for approval.

Answering a question, the NHA chairman said that a total of Rs 1,050 million have been released for land acquisition. He further elaborated that in Phase 1, Burhan to Havalian (59km), a total of 44 villages fall along the alignment, of which 38 are in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and six in Punjab.

He said that land acquisition process in the area falling in KP area is in final stages and the payments would begin from October 10. The process of payments in these villages would be completed by next month. Another Rs 175 million would soon be released to acquire the remaining six villages falling in the jurisdiction of the government of Punjab. A total of Rs 3 billion would be spent on land acquisition for the Expressway project.

The chairman told that road alignments in Abottabad are being changed due to unavoidable circumstances, which may lead to increase in the project cost. Different options in this respect were also discussed in the meeting.

Senator Zahid directed the NHA to provide a regular update on the Expressway project to the standing committee and also issued directives to speed up the work on land acquisition. He also directed to start the construction work on the project by June next year.
NHA chairman assured that he will take all necessary steps to start the work by June 2012, and added that the construction of the road will be completed in three years after the work initiates.