• 132-km-long dual carriageway from Jamshoro to Sehwan yet to be completed, seven years on
• NHA assures Sindh CS it will complete the project by June

HYDERABAD: As many as 115 people were killed and 317 injured in a total of 97 traffic accidents on an incomplete section of the Indus Highway between Jamshoro and Sehwan during the last four years, officials said on Thursday.

On early Wednesday morning, six persons were killed and over three dozen injured when a coach ploughed into an oil tanker near Sehwan on the same Indus Highway.

Following the deadly accident, the Sindh government once again asked the federal government to complete the much-delayed project, being undertaken by the National Highway Authority (NHA), as early as possible.

The 130-kilometre-long dual carriageway of the Indus Highway, known as N-55, remained incomplete between Jamshoro and Sehwan despite the fact that the Rs14 billion road project was launched in December 2017 and the Sindh government had already provided Rs7bn as its 50 per cent share of the project’s cost.

The Sindh police had said that as many as 282 people were killed and 1,443 injured in 608 accidents on the same section of the Indus Highway during 2017 and 2018.

Sehwan is the hometown of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and the Indus Highway passes through his constituency as well. He had time and again called for the completion of the road section and once wondered why the federal government had failed to complete the 130-km-long carriageway in years when the Sindh government had completed 62-km-long Nawabshah-Sanghar Road in just four months.

‘10 dangerous turns causing accidents’

On Thursday, Sindh Chief Secretary Asif Hyder Shah chaired a high-level meeting in Hyderabad to review the progress of the Indus Highway construction work.

The meeting was attended by the secretaries of the local government and works and services departments, Hyderabad commissioner, officials of the NHA and motorway police.

Expressing concerns over the increasing number of fatal accidents on the said section of the Indus Highway, the CS said that since 2019 as many as 97 accidents had taken place on the highway in which 115 people were killed and 317 suffered injuries.

Briefing the CS, Motorway DIG Muhammad Saleem said that there were 10 dangerous sharp turns on the Indus Highway.

He attributed accidents with engineering design faults and informed the meeting that the motorway police had already approached the NHA in this regard.

The CS deplored the delay in construction of the highway and held the NHA responsible for failing to complete the construction work within stipulated time.

He regretted that precious lives were being lost due to non-completion of the road.

Mr Shah said that the Sindh chief minister had approached the prime minister about the delay in completion of the project following the Wednesday deadly accident.

Briefing the meeting, NHA officials said that the dual carriageway would be completed by June 2024.

The chief secretary directed the NHA to keep in mind the heavy rains of 2022 in the area while undertaking the project and proposed construction of culverts in the carriageway.

He asked the motorway police to increase number of patrols and set up control room to monitor the traffic with cameras.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2024

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