Despite payment of Sindh's share, Centre failed to finish Indus Highway project

Murad tells senators they have asked Centre to return the funds so that they may complete project


Our Correspondent April 29, 2019
Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah. PHOTO: PPP

KARACHI: The work on the dualisation of Indus Highway is progressing at a snail's pace despite payment of 50% share of the estimated project cost by the Sindh government to the Centre.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah shared this information with Senate Chairperson Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, senators Ahmed Khan Baloch and Khuda Babar, and Mirza Mohammad Afridi, who called on him at the Chief Minister's House on Sunday. Sanjrani informed the CM that he had learned through media reports that the number of accidents at the Indus Highway had been increasing.

The CM responded that through their efforts they had managed to get the Indus Highway project from Jamshoro to Sehwan, spanning about 108km, approved at Rs17 billion in 2017. The then federal government through the National Highway Authority (NHA) launched the project for which the provincial government agreed to pay Rs7b or 50% of the total cost.

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"We have already released Rs7 billion in April 2017 to start the project, but the pace of work on the highway is disappointing," he said adding that the project was scheduled for completion within 18 months.
Shah said that he had also offered the federal government the option to return Rs7b and instead give its 50% share of Rs7 billion to the provincial government so that they could complete the project. He added that Federal Communication Minister Murad Saeed had assured him that work on the project would be accelerated. However, Shah said that the results were discouraging.

Discussing the dam on the Gaj River in Dadu district, the CM said that it was originally a Rs48b project launched by the federal government but due to delay in its completion, its cost had increased to Rs60b.

"We have already requested the federal government to complete the Nai Gaj Dam so that irrigation can be carried out," he told Sanjrani.
The Senate chairperson assured that he would take up the provincial government's grievances to the Senate committee and would get the projects completed. He also congratulated the CM on launching the first-ever indigenous Thar Coal Power Project.

The CM invited them to visit the project site. He said that the provincial government had constructed two bridges on River Indus in Thatta and Sujawal districts, roads, an airport in Islamkot and have connected Thar with internal roads. "Now, Thar looks like a well-developed district," he claimed.

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