KOHAT: Hungarian Minister of State for Economic Diplomacy Levente Magyar and MOL Pakistan Oil and Gas Company COO Dr Berislav Gaso formally inaugurated the multi-million project of Khushal Garh Bridge in Kohat on Wednesday. The bridge was opened for vehicular traffic a year ago, but was formally inaugurated yesterday.
The project worth $405 million was jointly by MOL Pakistan and Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) with assistance from National Highway Authority (NHA) of Pakistan. The project replaced a 100-year-old bridge that was partially damaged by
2010 floods to facilitate the community.
The 373-metre-long bridge that connects K-P with Punjab across Indus River near Khushalgarh village can carry loads of over 200 metric tonnes and can serve all kinds of heavy and light vehicles. The bridge will help connect Kohat, Karak, Hangu and to some extent other southern districts with Attock and Rawalpindi.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Gaso said the bridge will be useful for people-to-people contact, generate business activities and will help in an uninterrupted flow of logistics. “Presently the bridge is used by over 4,000 vehicles on daily basis,” he added.
Gaso told The Express Tribune MOL will continue to support activities for the betterment of the community. “The bridge will play a decisive role in boosting economic prosperity of … [southern areas].”
MOL Regional Adviser for Pakistan Ali Murtaza Abbas termed the project’s completion a “dream come true” and added MOL will continue to improve the economic conditions in its operational areas. He also said the company has so far invested over $2 billion in the “Attock Block”, in southern region’s exploration, producing 21 barrels of oil per day.
“The bridge will ease the traffic flow of oil tankers from fossil fuels exploratory sites such as Hangu, Karak and Kohat districts of K-P to Rawalpindi’s Attock oil refinery,” Abbas added.
Kohat Deputy Commissioner Zahir Shah lauded MOL’s investment in the project and said 50% of Pakistan’s crude oil is extracted from the southern region of K-P and the government will appreciate more operations by the company in the region.
While the newly-constructed bridge will help the community, people believe the century-old bridge should have been preserved as national heritage.
Commenting on its preservation, Shah said the old bridge was the property of the federal government and the provincial government will request its conservation.
Magyar along with MOL Chief Financial Officer Jozsef Simola unveiled the plaque. While a large number of officials from Hungarian embassy were present, not a single representative of the federal government or provincial assembly was at the ceremony.
Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was scheduled to be the chief guest at the ceremony but could not attend due to reasons unknown.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2016.
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