HYDERABAD: More than half of the 132-kilometre-long M-9 motorway project between Karachi and Hyderabad will be completed and opened for traffic by the end of this month.
The Superhighway Construction Operation and Rehabilitation Engineering Limited (SCORE) assured the Sindh High Court (SHC) that it will also immediately address the road safety problems and complaints of the locals.
The Hyderabad circuit bench, comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Muhammad Iqbal Mahar, heard on Thursday two identical petitions regarding the M-9 motorway project.
“… that major portion of the road, which is 76 kilometres, will be opened preferably by the end of this year,” the order quoted Brig (retd) Tahir Raja, chief operating officer of SCORE, which is a subsidiary of Frontier Works Organization, as assuring.
The official further gave his word to the bench that SCORE, which has been collecting the toll tax from the two old toll plazas of the Super Highway for over a year, will immediately desist the practice. “… they will charge the tax on [the] new road as per the sketch,” the order noted.
During the hearing, Advocate Sajjad Chandio, counsel for the petitioner, pointed out to the court that SCORE failed to comply with the November 24 SHC order for the improvement of the condition of diversion roads and limited their length to 2.5km.
The COO claimed that currently, there are seven diversion roads in the project with all except one measuring 2.5km. The only larger diversion of three kilometres will soon be curtailed to the permissible limit, he said.
Brig Raja told the court that an eight-member committee comprising five officials from the National Highway Authority (NHA) and three from SCORE has been formed to address the grievances.
According to a report submitted by SCORE, the NHA and Motorway police will provide a certified list of casualties caused by the construction works on the road to the company for processing of compensation cases.
Many complaints have surfaced that the company is allegedly occupying private land and structures and the amenities under the garb of the right of way (ROW). SCORE told the court that NHA will constitute a committee to address such complaints.
The company further assured that the recovery vehicles will be made available on every diversion with submission of a compliance report in the next hearing. The court was also informed that the federal government has been requested to increase the deployment of the motorway police.
The court adjourned hearing of the case to January 12, 2017.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2016.