Senate panel calls for motorway safety

Directs officials to upgrade infrastructure


Our Correspondent October 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD:

An upper house panel on Thursday stressed the need for conducting regular patrolling on motorway sections along Kuchlak-Zhob to control law and order situations, accidents and traffic congestion.

The Senate Functional Committee on Problems on Less Developed Areas meeting, which was presided over by Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, discussed in detail issues pertaining to Kuchlak-Zhob Section, Saranai to Chaman Section and bypasses at Loralai, Muslim Bagh and Zhob.

The meeting was attended by senators Kulsoom Parveen, Nighat Mirza, Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, Fida Muhammad, Gianchand, Anwar Lal Dean and Muhammad Khalid Bizenjo. Senior officers from the ministries of communications, planning and the National Highway Authority and others were also among the attendees.

It also discussed the bidding process for motorways from Zhob to Kuchlak and the status of maintenance work at Zhob to Darazanda section.

Deliberating over implementation status of recommendations recorded in the meeting held on December 30, 2019, the committee took up issues pertaining to deserted motorway sections along Kuchlak-Zohb. The upper house panel stressed the need for conducting regular patrols to control law and order situations, accidents and traffic congestion alongside Kuchlak-Zhob section.

The officials informed the panel that soft patrolling was being conducted already. However, to begin operations on a regular basis, they said the department was short of funds.

Taking up the issue of the status of maintenance work at the Zhob-Darazanda Section, the committee underscored the need for constructing speed-breakers by the NHA on international standards.

Committee Chairman Usman Khan Kakar emphasised that all roads in less developed areas must come up to the NHA standards as it would go a long way in controlling accidents.

The issue of people and trucks being stranded in the area was also discussed. The panel emphasised on the establishment of emergency response centres on the Quetta-Zhob part, especially during snowfall.

Discussing the road standards, Senator Fida Muhammad brought up the issue of the Muzaffar Garh MM Road. The committee reiterated its call for maintaining the roads according to the NHA standards.

Regarding retention of walls along the bridge situated at the Muslim Bagh, the officials informed the committee that work had been completed in April. The panel recommended that the height and length must be doubled to protect it from floods.

Discussing whether requisite measures were taken to issue tenders to commence construction work on the Kuchlak Zhob Section, the officials told that the PC-I for the project has been approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec). The project has been financed by the federal government through the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) allocation made in the fiscal year 2020-21, they said.

The committee directed that the work should be completed by December 15. Discussing revision of the Zhob Bypass, the Planning Division officials assured the committee that once a revised PC-I by the NHA is submitted work on this project will be prioritised.

On low-quality construction of the road from Chakdara-Mingora, it stressed the need for ensuring that the construction company is taken to task. The officials informed that a performance guarantee worth Rs86 million has been encashed. But the panel asserted the need for the company to be blacklisted.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2020.

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