11 Indus Highway sections completed

Published November 26, 2001

KOHAT, Nov 25: The Chairman of National Highway Authority, Maj-Gen Farrukh Javed, has said that the work on 11 sections of the Indus Highway has been successfully completed at a cost of over Rs10.052 billion.

He hoped that the work on the third and final phase, which also included the Rs7 billion Kohat Tunnel Project, would be completed soon.

He said that the Kohat Tunnel Project was a sign of Japan-Pakistan friendship, which would go a long way in the economic development of the country connecting various cities through shortest possible routes.

Attending a briefing during a visit to the Kohat Tunnel, he was told that 52 per cent work on the project had already been completed, including the 32km-long access roads. He was informed that the pace of the work had been badly affected due to the war in Afghanistan as the Japanese and Malaysian engineers left the site for security reasons.

Speaking on the occasion, the NHA chairman highlighted the role of highways in the economic development.

The joint briefing, given by the member operations NHA, Col Aziz-ul-Haq and project director of the Kohat Tunnel Project, Pervez Gul, was attended by the General Manager of NHA, NWFP, Brig Shamshad Ahmed and other senior officials and representatives of the consultant companies and Japanese contractors.

The National Highway Authority is presently discussing the issue of release of $300 million, due since February last, for the second phase of the two kilometre long Kohat Tunnel project and replacement of emergency systems with most modern gadget with the Japanese authorities, it is learnt.

The NHA had held talks with certain construction firms regarding the technical aspects of the Indus Highway and resumption of work on the remaining 424-km-long sections in Sindh, Punjab and NWFP pending for the last so many years. These sections comprise Sewan Sharif-Ratodero (200km) in Sindh, Rajanpur-Dera Ghazi Khan (108km) in Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan-Seni Gumbat (116km) in NWFP.

The government of Japan has been demanding guarantees for the repayment of the loan in the stipulated time in the wake of sanctions imposed under the CTBT on Pakistan after it conducted nuclear tests. It is important to note here that the Japan government has not yet committed funds for the third and last phase of the tunnel project, more than 50 per cent work on which had been successfully completed.

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