LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Saturday that work on the construction and rehabilitation of 225 roads in the first phase of the Khadim-i-Punjab Rural Roads Programme should be completed by September 30.
He was chairing a meeting convened to review progress on the programme. Sharif said the programme had been initiated to develop infrastructure in the countryside. The chief minister said a sum of Rs150 billion would be spent on constructing and rehabilitating roads over three years under the programme. Sharif said the programme was a game changer. He said the programme would transform life in rural areas and make travelling a breeze for people from the countryside.
The chief minister said all roads in rural areas would be rehabilitated under a phased programme. He said the implementation of the programme would lead to progress in the construction sector and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Sharif said this would strengthen the rural economy.
He said no compromise would be made on the quality of construction and rehabilitation of roads. Sharif said strict action would be taken in the event of any complaints regarding substandard construction. He said contractors would be responsible for looking after the roads for three years.
The chief minister directed officials to ensure the continuous provision of construction material for the programme. He said strict action would be taken against those guilty of creating artificial shortages of materials and selling them at inflated rates.
Sharif directed work on the identification of new roads to be constructed under the programme’s second phase to immediately commence. He said this would enable the quick construction and rehabilitation of the roads. Sharif said the contractors who qualified for the second phase would have to employ new machines for the project. He said the contractors who had looted the national exchequer deserved to be put in prison and be given exemplary punishment.
The chief minister also directed the constitution of a subcommittee tasked with submitting final proposals regarding axle loads. He said the committee ought to submit its proposals as soon as possible to resolve the challenge of overloading on rural roads. Sharif also directed the forests secretary to take immediate steps regarding the plantation of trees and plants in the vicinity of the roads.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2015.