Senate body expresses reservations over additional costs of NHA projects

Published September 17, 2021
A parliamentary body on Thursday expressed reservations over the increased costs of various National Highway Authority projects. — DawnNewsTV/File
A parliamentary body on Thursday expressed reservations over the increased costs of various National Highway Authority projects. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary body on Thursday expressed reservations over the increased costs of various National Highway Authority (NHA) projects.

The Senate Standing Committee on Communications, which met at Parliament House with its chairman Senator Prince Omar Ahmadzai in the chair, said NHA should have a 25-year vision for road master planning.

Senator Saifullah Abro, a member of the committee, expressed reservations over the additional costs of various projects, especially the Larkana-Nodero-Lakhi road section. He also expressed frustration over the poor condition of numerous roads completed by the NHA. After these concerns, the chairman, in consultation with members of the committee, constituted a subcommittee under the convenership of Senator Saifullah Abro to review the ongoing and completed projects of the NHA. Senator Shamim Afridi and Senator Kamil Ali Agha would also be part of the committee.

Earlier, senior officials of the NHA briefed the committee on the annual maintenance plans of the Indus Highway from Mianwali to Och Sharif, Petaro-Sehwan, Fort Monroe to Ghazi Ghat Bridge and Dera Ghazi Khan bypass.

Subcommittee formed to review ongoing and completed road projects

Secretary Communications Zafar Hasan said there were problems in the system and they needed to be resolved as soon as possible. He said the ministry was working for improvement and reorganisation of the NHA. He told the committee that his office was computerising the operation system through satellite imagery, which would be updated on a quarterly basis. The computerised system would help identify areas where encroachments were occurring.

Dr Kaleem Imam, Inspector General of National Highways and Motorways Police (NHMP), briefed the committee on all the recruitments made on the quota of minorities. He said the quota for the recruitment of non-Muslim officers and officials was 4.8 per cent, which would be increased to five per cent. At present, 309 non-Muslim officers and staff are working in the NHMP, he said. The chairman of the committee sought details of the officers and other staff working in the NHMP from Balochistan. He said youth of Balochistan should also be given priority in the upcoming recruitments in the NHMP.

The NHMP chief informed the committee that it would soon announce 1,600 posts. Former Fata and Balochistan would be given three per cent and seven per cent quotas, respectively. He said a special package for the youth of Balochistan had also been announced. He said details of the upcoming recruitment process would be shared with the committee at the next meeting.

The committee was also provided information about the officers/personnel working on deputation basis in the NHMP. A total of 1, 545 officers/personnel are currently working on deputation in the NHMP.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2021

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