Bids invited for Pak-China Economic Corridor project

Published December 24, 2014
A Pakistan national flag flies alongside a Chinese national flag in front of the portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong on Beijing's Tiananmen Square. — Reuters/File
A Pakistan national flag flies alongside a Chinese national flag in front of the portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong on Beijing's Tiananmen Square. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Bids have been invited from Chinese construction companies and other international and local firms for the multi-billion dollar project of Pak-China Economic Corridor (PCEC), the country’s biggest road project recently launched by the government.

According to a document, the bids have been invited through national and international publications.

Work on one of the sections of the PCEC has been initiated this month under which a motorway from Havelian to Thakot as phase-I of the Islamabad-Raikot section of the corridor would be constructed.

The Havalian to Thakot section of the corridor is being financed by China while other phases will be carried out on the basis of Built Operate and Transfer (BOT).

The second section of the PCEC will be initiated next month for the construction of a motorway from Karachi to Hyderabad. The project has been awarded to the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO).

The third section will be initiated in a couple of months for the construction of Multan-Sukkur Motorway.

Some other sections, including Hyderabad to Sukkur, Lahore to Multan and Sukkur to Multan motorways will be started one by one.

Talking to Dawn, a senior official of National Highway Authority (NHA) said that it was a wrong impression that only Chinese firms would execute work on all sections of the PCEC. Bids had been invited from all international and local firms and any firm could win the contract, he added.

He said in a major strategic shift the NHA’s financial regime had been changed and all mega road projects were being executed on the basis of BOT.

In past such projects were conducted through government assistance.

The official said the firms which would invest their money in the PCEC project would be paid through collection of road tax (toll). “We will not give any prior financial guarantee to the firms but they will be given toll plazas, service areas and the right-of-way of the sections they will execute,” he added.

The official said besides the PCEC project some other related projects would also be initiated soon. They included reconstruction of existing Islamabad-Lahore Motorway and Karakorum Highway (KKH) that originates from the Pak-China border.

Talking about the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M-2), the official said according to its original plan it was to be reconstructed after 10 years of its construction but it was not done even after the lapse of 17 years. This project was also being executed on the BOT basis.

Answering a question about a controversy that the NHA has awarded a contract to a firm of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s close aide Saifur Rehman, the head of defunct Ehteasb Bureau or the previous version of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the official said no contract of any section of the PCEC had been awarded to Mr Rehman.

However, he added, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed between the NHA and Mr Rehman’s firm for a consultancy study of the PCEC project which was being carried out free of cost.

Published in Dawn December 24th , 2014

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