Senate Penal Expresses Concern Over Cost Escalation Of NHA Projects
Umer Jamshaid 5 months ago Mon 27th May 2019 | 11:20 PM
The Senate Standing Committee on Communication on Monday expressed concern over the cost escalation of the projects of National Highway Authority (NHA) and directed communication ministry to devise a mechanism to avoid unnecessary increase in cost of the projects
The meeting chaired by Senator Hidayatullah, was told by Chairman NHA Jawad Rafique Malik that NHA has devised to hold consultant of the project responsible for escalation of the cost. It has also been proposed that design and supervision consultants of a project should remain the same to avoid unnecessary delay in a project.
The Chairman urged the committee to devise an effective mechanism to block the entry of unfit vehicles on motorways and highways besides impeding the entry of juvenile and nave drivers on roads to avoid accidents.
He urged legislators to introduce strict laws and ensure implementation on road safety laws in true letter and spirit.
The Chairman said the affected persons of M1 and M2 were still demanding the land compensation claims of over Rs 40 billion.
He said National Highway Authority (NHA) was going on initiating e-billing system in its office to make movement of files smooth from one officer to other. An officer could be penalized on unnecessary delay in forwarding a file. The committee directed the NHA to devise a mechanism to ensure timely payments to the contractors.
Secretary Communication Shoaib Ahmed Siddique told the meeting that planning was being finalized to make motorway police self sustaining. Ministry was working on road safety strategy and the amount of fines imposed on traffic law violations were being enhanced and rationalized.
Inspector General National Highway and Motorway told the committee that motorway police was introducing a number of new initiatives to minimize accidents and regularize traffic. Speed Checking Cameras would be installed a different places of the motorways.
The meeting adopted the report of the sub-committee on the Senate Standing Committee on Communication regarding payment to land owners whose land was acquired for construction of the road from Kaghan to Babusar top, 17 years ago, was submitted to the committee.
While discussing the updated position of the Malakand Tunnel Project and the present position of NA-45, the Committee was informed that the Korean Exim Bank agreed in principal for provision of additional funding for the twin tube tunnel and work will commence only after a confirmation from them.
The detailed design of the project had been completed and construction will require a total of 42 months. Deliberating over the proposed Public Sector Development Project (PSDP) for 2019-2020, the Committee appreciated the Ministry's effort for allocating a major share, as recommended by the Committee, to Balochistan. Taking up the case of non-payment of dues in favour of Sarwar Construction (Pvt) Ltd, since December 2012 on account of dualization of Takht Bhai Dargai Road Package (NA-45), the Committee was informed that payment had been submitted to the accounts section NHA Peshawar on 10 May, 2019 for scrutiny prior to the approval of Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) Jawad Rafique Malik. Chairman Committee, Senator Hidayat Ullah gave directive to come up with a deadline, so that this matter may be resolved at the earliest. He further stated that without a competent system in place, good governance cannot be achieved. He stressed the need for the Ministry to revisit its work processed, so that pending issues may be expedited.
While reviewing recommendation status of previous meetings the Committee was informed that display boards had been removed from toll plazas of M-9 motorway. Instructions have also been conveyed to toll plaza staff to behave courteously. Refresher courses will also be held to keep them abreast of important aspects of their work and to keep them motivated. Senator Behramand Tangi showed displeasure regarding cutting of fences at different places at the M-1 motorway. He said that to-date despite Motorway Police claims, no action has been taken.
This, he said, was contributing to 25 percent of accidents on this route, which is alarming. It was recommended that Senator Tangi tour the route with IG Motorway Police, to highlight specific areas of non-compliance.The meeting was attended by Senator Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Senator Dr Jehanzed Jamaldini, Senator Behramand Khan Tangi, Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani, Senator Ahmed Khan, Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah and senior officers from the Ministry of Communications along with all concerned.