Road projects worth Rs300bn to be completed under public-private partnership

Updated 07 Jul 2020

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Some sections of the N-25 Karachi-Quetta project will need government funding due to huge investment requirement, moderate traffic demand, lack of toll culture and security concerns in Balochistan.
Some sections of the N-25 Karachi-Quetta project will need government funding due to huge investment requirement, moderate traffic demand, lack of toll culture and security concerns in Balochistan.

ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday selected two road projects worth Rs300 billion for development through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

The expected completion date for the design and feasibility studies of both projects by March 31, 2021.

The decision was taken at a meeting on road infrastructure projects under the PPP mode presided over by Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Asad Umar. The meeting was attended by National Highway Authority (NHA) Chairman Sikkandar Qayyum, PPP-Authority (PPPA) Chief Executive Officer Malik Ahmed Khan and other senior officials.

The meeting was briefed on various projects currently under consideration for implementation under the PPP mode. The meeting was informed that apart from Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway, which had been approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP), two more road projects: N-25 Karachi-Quetta road worth approximately Rs200bn and Mianwali-Muzafargarh road worth approximately Rs100bn were also being processed for implementation under the PPP mode.

The 790-km N-25 connects Karachi Port with Quetta and provides access to Afghanistan through Chaman. The project includes construction of additional carriageway and rehabilitation of existing road where required to make it a four-lane divided carriageway.

The meeting was told that detailed design for Khuzdar-Chaman section was in progress and paperwork to hire consultants for design of Karachi-Khuzdar section and commercial feasibility of the whole Karachi-Chaman road will also be taken up in the upcoming departmental working party meeting on July 10. This would be followed by initiation of the procurement process.

Authorities expected that few sections of N-25 would be commercially feasible while the remaining sections would require substantial government funding due to “huge investment requirement, moderate traffic demand, lack of toll culture and security concerns in Balochistan”.

Minister said these projects would help provide good road infrastructure facilities in collaboration with the private sector. The minister further dire­cted to complete the design and feasibility studies on both projects by Mar 31, 2021.

National Highway N-25 connects Karachi with Quetta, the capital of Balochistan and provides access to Afghanistan via Chaman. This project includes construction of additional carriageway and rehabilitation of existing road to make it a four-lane divided carriageway. The meeting was told that design and commercial feasibility would be ready by Mar 30, 2021 and would be presented to the PPPA Board for approval by April 15 and bids would be called by mid-September 2021.

The meeting was also informed that 286-km Mianwali-Muzaffargarh Road was a provincial highway but the NHA intended to dualise this road section under build, own and transfer (BOT) basis in the PPP arrangement. The scope of work also included rehabilitation of existing two-lane facilities with structure.

The road was federalised on May 6 and has been taken over by the NHA on June 18. The paperwork for hiring consultants to undertake detailed design and commercial feasibility would be approved on July 10 with the target for final submission of design and feasibility report by Feb 28, 2021 and its approval by PPPA Board on Mar 15, 2021. The letters of intent would be sought by April 2021 with the target to award the contract by end-January 2022.

The meeting was also informed that the Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M-6) worth Rs204bn was already included in the PPP mode to finance, build and operate it for 25 years. The private party will finance construction of the project, operate it for a defined concession period and transfer it back to the NHA, at no cost at the end of concession period of 25 years.

Communications Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik and NHA Chairman Sika­n­dar Qayyum briefed the meeting on the plans for construction of Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M-6) on BOT basis.

The M-6 project is estimated to take 33 months to complete. The 300-km motorway project starting from Sukkur will pass through Khairpur, Naushahro Feroze, Nawab Shah, Matiari, Hala and Jamshoro and terminate at Hyderabad.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2020