After the Salala border post attack by Nato forces in November this year which resulted in the killing of 24 soldiers, Pakistan has closed all Nato supply routes. The government has announced that the supply lines will be reopened only if the parliament approved it. - File photo

 

ISLAMABAD: The government informed the National Assembly on Friday that it needed a staggering amount of Rs122.95 billion to repair roads which had badly suffered because of heavy traffic load, having been used as major supply lines for Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Federal Minister for Communications Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan provided this information in a written reply during the question hour session in the lower house of parliament.

Ms Nisar Tanveer of PML-N had sought information on the condition of roads used as supply routes by Nato forces currently fighting in Afghanistan.

In a detailed response, Dr Khan said that according to the findings of the government’s annual condition survey 2011, various routes comprising 4046 km used as Nato supply lines had suffered 26 per cent losses.

These routes are: Karachi-Khuzdar-Quetta-Chaman (813 km); Karachi-Hyderabad (136 km); Ketri-Shikarpor-DG Khan-Kohat-Peshawar (1265 km), Karachi-Thatta-Hyderabad-Lahore (1272 km); Lahore-Islamabad (350 km); Islamabad-Peshawar-Torkham (204 km).

According to the survey, on an average 26 per cent these roads are in dilapidated conditions and needed Rs122 billion for repairs.

The minister also informed the house that the heavy vehicles plying on the routes were being charged as per toll rates approved by the National Highway Authority and implemented since Sept 1, 2011. However, the minister didn’t elaborate on the rates.

“The condition of these roads has been considerably deteriorated due to frequent usage by overloaded vehicles of Nato forces engaged in Afghanistan since 2011,” the minister said in the written reply.

These deteriorated roads require a major rehabilitation plan at an estimated cost of Rs122.95 billion. This issue has already been highlighted at various forums with the proposal to claim the damages from Nato forces. It may be recalled that the Parliamentary Committee on National Security in its set of recommendations for future engagement with Nato has recommended significantly high toll rates on these routes. A joint sitting of parliament expected next week will take up these recommendations.

After the Salala border post attack by Nato forces in November this year which resulted in the killing of 24 soldiers, Pakistan has closed all Nato supply routes. The government has announced that the supply lines will be reopened only if the parliament approved it.

In response to another question asked by Nuzhat Sadiq of the PML-N, the communications minister said it wasn’t true that development projects of the NHA had been stopped due to payment issue.

However, he accepted that there had been considerable delays due to financial constraints, particularly during FY2010-11, when 50 per cent cut was imposed on all development projects funded under the Public Sector Development Programme.

As a result, the minister said contractors suspended work until the release of payments. The work was resumed in FY2011-12 when funds were released for the projects at regular intervals.

An amount of Rs21.672 billion was paid to contractors during FY2010-11 after the finance division released Rs18.112 billion the same year and the remaining amount was arranged from internal borrowing, the minister said. An amount of Rs18.056 billion was also released to contractors during FY2011-12.

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