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NHA facing fund shortage

NHA PAKISTANISLAMABAD: The National Highway Authority is running short of funds for initiating work on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of its road network damaged by recent floods. The authority needs an amount of Rs17.4 billion for the purpose.

NHA Chairman Altaf Ahmad Chaudhry told this reporter on Tuesday that a request has been made to the government to immediately provide Rs1 billion so that the authority could start work on roads washed away by the massive flooding. He said the work would start from Sindh where repair of damaged roads would cost Rs4.6 billion.
He said President Asif Ali Zardari had directed NHA to start work for the repair of damaged roads in Sindh without any delay. The authority has been asked to approach the ministry of finance for the required funds.

Floods have badly damaged the Indus Highway and the Karachi-Hyderabad Supper Highway.

Altaf Chaudhry said the damaged sections of both the roads were closed for traffic. Two portions of the Indus Highway, from Sehwan to Saeedabad, and Mehar to Kakar —20km each — have been destroyed by the floods and closed for traffic.

About 30km of the Karachi-Hyderabad Super Highway, from Ratodero to Qabu Khan, has been badly damaged and closed for traffic. Five other roads in the province have been washed away by floodwaters.

According to NHA, the total loss caused due to damages to the road network is Rs13.7 billion while the amount required for its repair is Rs17.4 billion.

Roads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh were the worst hit where losses have been estimated at Rs7.7 billion and Rs3.5 billion, respectively.

Loss in Punjab have been assessed at Rs1.06 billion, AJK Rs742 million, Gilgit-Baltistan Rs423 million and Balochistan Rs320 million.

The cost for repair has been estimated for roads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at Rs9.3 billion, Sindh Rs4.6 billion, Punjab Rs1.4 billion, Balochistan Rs473 million, Gilgit-Baltistan Rs525 million and AJK Rs983 million.

The NHA has initiated negotiations with different agencies to get grants and loans for the restoration of highways and modalities are being finalised with the Asian Development Bank and World Bank.

The chairman said overloading was one of the major causes of damaged roads in the country. He suggested that fine on overloading should be increased to discourage the practice.

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