Western route motorway: PM to perform groundbreaking

WEB DESK: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to perform the groundbreaking of Dera Ismail Khan-Hakla motorway – western part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Tuesday, May 17.

The 285-kilometers long motorway is part of the western route of CPEC and will be completed at a cost of Rs 129.782 billion in two years.

However, according to the Planning Commission data released on May 13, the federal government has yet to release any amount for the land acquisition/construction of western alignment of the CPEC under the public Sector Development Program (PSDP) 2015-16.

The government earmarked Rs 20 billion in PSDP 2015-16 for two CPEC projects falling in the western route (i) land acquisition/construction of western alignment and other CPEC projects and (ii) construction of Islamabad – Mianwali – D I Khan CPEC route including land acquisition and technical study.

However the latest data of Planning Commission shows that no amount has been released for these projects in the current financial year.

The government has repeatedly assured the opposition parties that western route of CPEC will be implemented in letter and spirit as per All Parties Conference (APC) decision.

The western route connects northern route with Gwadar while traversing through Barahma Bahatar, Fateh Jang, Pindi Gheb, Kundal, D.I Khan, Mughalkot, Zhob, Quetta, Kalat, Surab.

Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) Shahid Ashraf Tarar while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Communication recently stated that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has diverted Rs 20 billion, saved in other projects to the road projects under the CPEC brining the total allocation to Rs 40 billion for the current financial year 2015-16.

He had further stated that section 4 was placed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa government for land acquisition for the Hasanabdal-D I Khan section under the CPEC and work would be started in March 2016.

Following the directives of Prime Minister land would be acquired for six lanes motorways while D I Khan-Zhob section would be upgraded to the status of motorways. Later it was announced to execute the project in April.

When contacted, NHA spokesperson said that the Authority is the only executing agency and would start work as soon as the government approves and directs. He expressed ignorance about the releases from Planning Commission.

However, he confirmed that Prime Minister will perform the ground breaking of D I Khan-Hakla motorway on May 17 (today).

The ceremony will take place at Yarik near D I Khan. Chairman NHA Shahid Ashraf Tarar will brief the PM about technical aspects of the project.

The project is part of western alignment of China -Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is 285 kms long and will be completed in two years. PC-1 cost of civil works is Rs 129.782 billion. M/s Nespak is the design consultant.

Project includes construction of several bridges and interchanges. It passes through less developed parts of the country and is expected to bring enormous economic benefits through creation of new business and employment opportunities.

Barahama Bahtar-Fateh Jang-Pindi Gheb-Kundal-DI Khan (285 kms) will be constructed as a 4-lane access-limited Highway with geometric specifications of a motorway.

Right of Way (ROW) of 100m will be acquired which is a standard for 6-lane motorways. With the addition of one lane on either side in future; as per traffic demand, the facility will become a 6-lane motorway.

Eastern route comprises of existing network and commences from Burhan and utilising the existing/under-construction network of Peshawar – Karachi Motorway to reach Multan.

Using Multan-Sukkur, the route extends to the already existing Sukkur-Shikarpur from where it reaches Ratodiro and then using Motorway M-8 it will reach Gwadar via Wangu hills, Khuzdar, Basima, and onwards taking the alignment of western route ie Panjgur, Hoshab, and Turbat.

Currently China is financing only two projects namely Havilian-Thakot and Multan-Sukkur road projects under CPEC, while several other road projects are being financed by Asian Development Bank and government of Pakistan. – Business Recorder