KARACHI: At a speed of 110 kilometres (km) per hour, you will be able to reach Hyderabad from Karachi in barely an hour. Patience is, however, required for this dream to materialise.
The 136-km-long Karachi-Hyderabad motorway is part of the greater M-9 Karachi to Lahore motorway, which is spread over 1,152km. A 75km section of the Karachi-Hyderabad motorway has been completed, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today (Friday). According to Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) project director Colonel Rashid, the entire motorway from Karachi to Hyderabad will be completed by the end of this year. The official deadline for completion of work was April, 2018.
He said that 75km of the section have been completed from Lucky Cement area all the way till Lanikot Bridge, adding that the PM will inaugurate the said section today at Nooriabad. "From Lanikot Bridge, hardly 16km distance is left to reach Hyderabad," he said.
According to National Highway Authority (NHA), Sindh, general manager Tufail Ahmed Shaikh, the contract of the motorway was given to FWO under Built Operation Transfer, which means the FWO will construct the motorway from its own funds and then recover its cost by operating it. After 25 years, it will hand the motorway back to the government.
The 136km-long motorway from Karachi to Hyderabad will initiate from Sohrab Goth at Lyari Expressway and end at the T Junction of Jamshoro, at a cost of Rs44.251 billion.
CNG and petrol pumps
There are as many as 90 fuel pumps, which includes Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and petrol stations, and 110 roadside hotels and small businesses between Karachi to Hyderabad along the motorway.
Shaikh told The Express Tribune that only 32 of the 90 pumps have obtained the no-objection certificate (NOC) from the NHA.
Former All Pakistan Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Association, Sindh, chairperson Suleman Sulemanjee, who is a member of the Super Highway Stakeholders Committee, said that only the oil marketing companies obtained the NOC from NHA. How was it possible that illegal pumps were being operated under such big names at Super Highway for years, he asked.
According to him, the FWO has assured them to provide an entrance and exit through a service road from the motorway to each pump. However, for the construction of that exit and entrance passage, he said, the FWO will collect money from the pumps.
Graveyards, tombs and orchards
There are six graveyards, nine orchards and one major tomb that are coming in the right of way of the motorway, said Shaikh. Some portion of the Wadi-e-Hussain cemetery is in the right of way of the motorway, which will have to be demolished, he added.
Dargah Jalal Shah Bukhari tomb, which is 5km away from Wadi-e-Hussain, is 220 feet in the right of way of the motorway, said Shaikh. He added that all the tombs and mosques will have to be demolished for the construction of motorway and will be reconstructed as per their policy.
According to Shaikh, Dumba Goth, where the Palari community claims to have been living since centuries, has encroached upon 300 feet in the motorway's right of way. Badal Palari, a senior representative of the community, said that their community resides along the whole of Super Highway and the construction of the motorway will affect them the most.
As a sign of protest, he said, their community will boycott the inauguration ceremony that will be held today. To this, Shaikh said that apart from the 10 interchanges, they will be constructing 14 underpasses and 10 cattle creeps at different location to facilitate the local community's mobility.
Meanwhile, there are as many as 14 buildings of the armed forces and 16 police check-posts in the right of way of the motorway, which, according to Shaikh, will also have to be adjusted due to security reasons.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2017.