CPEC’s road links: Senate committee demands clear plan of western route

Islamabad: The Senate Standing Committee on Communications on Friday directed the Ministry of Communication to present a detailed report regarding the road plan of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project; especially the western route in the next meeting.

Chairing the meeting, Member of Senate Advocate Muhammad Daud Khan Achackzai said that since there exists a high level of ambiguity about issues with regards to CPEC projects; especially the western route, and a complete report was necessary to get a clear picture.

The committee directed the ministry to provide road-wise details along with their source of funding to reveal whether they were being financed under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) or by any other donor or lending agency.

The committee also enquired about the details of the ‘Orange Line Train’ project to ascertain its nature as to whether it was part of the CPEC or not. “Sometimes funds are meant for other projects but are shown in papers for CPEC,” said the committee. “Therefore, a wide-ranged briefing and a comprehensive report were needed to get all the facts straight.”

Additionally, the committee also decided to pay a visit to the ‘National Highway Authority’ (NHA) projects to get first-hand information and ensure that quality is being maintained and the projects would be completed within the scheduled time.

NHA Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar briefed the committee about M-Tag and said it was introduced to segregate revenues and ease traffic congestions.

“However, the issue has been resolved and the software developed, therefore, there would be only one E-tag now by April’s end.

The committee also gave directives to the Ministry of Communication to continue work on Takht Bai over-head bridge and no further extension should be given in order to complete it in time.

Tarar said he had directed the work to be completed on the project within a stipulated period of time. “There had been some delays, however, due to various reasons when locals demanded additional extension of the bridge,” he pointed out.

“There were also delays due to relocation of utilities, but now all of those issues have been settled with authorities and utilities have been accordingly relocated,” he added.

He said the project had been considerably delayed due to relocation of utilities.