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ISLAMABAD: The National Highways Authority (NHA) has utilised the entire Rs158 billion allocated for various projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2019-2020.

This was stated by Chairman NHA Capt Sikander Qayyum (retd), while responding to queries, during e-katcheri through the NHA's official Facebook page. In order to reduce burden on national exchequer, the NHA will be taking eight projects on "Built and Operate" (BOT) basis.

He said that Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway had been approved by the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Authority and the PC-1 had been submitted to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).

Qayyum informed that the NHA was endeavouring to generate required funds from its own resources for construction and maintenance of motorways and national highways throughout the country. He said participation of private sector in road building projects was encouraging. During 2019-2020, Rs158 billion were provided to the NHA which were utilised as per priorities of the government, and importance of the projects. The amount was provided for 40 ongoing 30 new schemes and some PPP projects were carried out as well. All amounts were utilised for value for money, said chairman, adding that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was government priority and all available funds especially for western routes were utilised.

Speaking about the significance of road maintenance, he said in 2018-2019, Rs33 billion were allocated for annual maintenance plan, while Rs34 billion were allocated in 2019-2020 for annual maintenance plan, and that both the plans were being implemented gradually. He said that the NHA had asset of around 13600 km and its maintenance is carried as per requirement.

He said that in line with directive of Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan on reaching out to the public through holding khuli katcheris by organisations under the Federal Government, the NHA held e-katcheri.

Such e-katcheris will also be held at the NHA Zonal offices located in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Muzaffarabad and the Gilgit-Baltistan, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020