The functional Committee on Problems of Less Developed Areas, in its meeting on Friday took serious notice of delay in major projects, especially those that pertain to Balochistan. It was noted that provincial road plans have not been implemented despite Resolution approval. The Committee was informed that the major cause of delay was lack of fund releases in a timely manner.
Chaired by Senator Usman Khan Kakar, the meeting was attended by Senator Haji Momin Khan Afridi, Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, Senator Gianchand, Senator Anwar Lal Dean, Senator Molvi Faiz Muhammad and senior officers from the Ministry for Communications, and Ministry of Planning Development and Reform, National Highway Authority along with all concerned. Secretary Communications, Mr. Jawad Rafique Malik and Chairman NHA, Capt (Retd) Sikander Qayyum attended the meeting as well.
The meeting commenced with a briefing by NHA on steps taken by the organization for the construction of two bypasses at Loralai. The Committee took strong notice of delay. Chairman Committee, Senator Usman Khan Kakar said that it has been 13 years since the project began. He added that projects in other provinces are completed at a much faster pace; he questioned the reason for projects been delayed and bypassed in Balochistan. The Committee was informed that the ADB funded project Qilla Saifullah to Loralai (Lot-1) and Loralai to Waigum Rud (Lot-II) that began in August 2016. The Committee was informed that these projects were currently in concluding stages. The Committee was further informed that Loralai Bypass was not part of any package. During the currency of work these two packages, efforts were made to make both Loralai Bypass (both southern and northern) a part of Lot-I and Lot-II. Design of Loralai Southern Bypass on right side was carried out in 2005 which had become obsolete since settlements have been made in the design alignment. Presently the PSDP 2019-20 does not contain provision/funds for these bypasses. Tendering for the culvert has been conducted and after technical evaluation work will commence by mid September.
While taking up the issue of dualization of road at new bypass Muslim Bagh between Railway Station and Hill Areas that are extremely less developed, the Committee was informed that dualization of Zhob –Kuchlak section of N-50 is planned to be carried out in order to make this section a continuation of CPEC Western Corridor. Detailed design has been prepared by the consultant (M/S NESPAK) and marked on the ground. As per design existing Muslim Bagh Bypass will be dualized except that take off point of the bypass (Zhob side) has been shifted away (approximately 100m) from city area along with some geometric improvements. According to the NESPAK the length would entail 9.5 Km. The Committee was further informed that as per its directives in the last meeting the length of the Zohb-Kuchlak section was to be 14 Km however, this would only be possible after NESPACK review. The Committee was enraged at its decision being bypassed. Chairman NHA assured the Committee, that NESPAK was in no position to take a decision regarding the project, despite giving technical input. After taking its input on technicalities, PC1 could be changed. The Committee was assured that report of the technical input would be submitted to the Committee in the next meeting.
While being briefed on Land Acquisition for CPEC (Western Rou) Yarak – DI Khan to Zhob, the Committee was informed that Yarak to Sagu Package of CPEC-Western Route is routed through 14-Mouzaz with an approximate length of 50 Kms. LAC has not announced award as yet due to non-finalization of alignment. Hence no disbursement is made. The case has been submitted to NHA HQ in July 2019 for finalization of alignment. The Land acquisition process from Sagu to Dhansar to Zhob section of CPEC-WR has not been started yet due to non-provision of final and approved alignment by NESPAK. The Committee was assured that details of evaluation of the whole project will be provided in the next meeting.
Discussing the Lowari Tunnel Project, the Committee was informed that currently processes have become more important than the project. Award will take 3 months, after which a time frame for the project could be quoted.
Presenting details of Chakdara –Kalam Road, the Committee was informed that 62 percent of the 82 Km road has been completed and is functional upto Fatehpur. However, the route between Bahrain and Kalam is still in progress. The Committee, once again taking strong notice of the delay, stressed that work on the project must be completed on time. The Committee was assured that work on the project will be completed by October, 2019, after which the Committee could visit the site.
Discussing motorway projects that fall under CPEC, the Committee was informed that all projects have been completed within set timelines. All details were presented to the Committee.