ISLAMABAD / PESHAWAR: A parliamentary panel on Thursday called on the government to release Rs400 million for completing the Shabzoi-Taunsa Road in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
This was directed during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Communications which met in the Parliament Lodges on Thursday with Senator Hidayatullah Khan in the chair.
During the meeting, the committee expressed its displeasure over the absence of the secretaries of finance and planning departments.
Senators said that officials from different institutions from across the country were attending the meeting according to its agenda at a heavy cost to the public exchequer but the absence of the related government officials had halted progress. The members recommended charging expenses of those attending the meeting from those who were absent.
The committee discussed the Shabzoi-Taunsa Road. The committee was told that the project was approved in 2013 with the federal and provincial governments to split the costs 60- 40.
Even though the project was supposed to have been completed in 2016, work on the project did not start until 2017. The committee was told that the federal government has so far issued 20 per cent of the requisite funds while the provincial government has issued Rs1.25 billion of the RS1.75 billion it was supposed to for the project.
The committee directed the government to release the remaining Rs400 million which have been allocated for the project in the budget for the fiscal year 2019-20.
Further, the committee referred the matter to the Planning Ministry so that the matter could be resolved with assistance the of ministry’s secretary.
Senator Behramand Khan Tangi said that the former chairman of the National Highway Authority (NHA) had allegedly continuously neglected committee’s directions.
He added that several accidents due to animals crossing the highways are reported because there are no fences or boundaries erected to stop them. He expressed that ex-chairman was responsible for all accidents and that an FIR should be lodged against him.
Swat motorway to be extended to Kalam
The Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed on Thursday announced that the under-construction Swat motorway will be extended to the hill station of Kalam.
Saeed announced this in a video message released on Thursday. The minister, who hails from Swat, said that the project will be completed with the cooperation of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2019.