ISLAMABAD -Pakistan is planning to levy special toll tax on Nato/Isaf trucks that are reportedly causing around $83million annual loss to the national exchequer by damaging the national highway network due to the heavy loads. The idea to impose special toll tax on these freight trucks at Chaman and Torkham (border posts) is in pipeline, well-placed sources in communication ministry told TheNation. The documents accessed by this scribe which were actually designated for Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) reveal that the countrys road network is under tremendous strain due to the heavy loads of Nato/Isaf trucks, operating under American Transit Freight to Afghanistan since 2002. The average road damage caused by Nato/Isaf freight on main routes leading to Afghanistan takes 19 per cent of the total expenditure of repair and maintenance of road and infrastructure, according to the documents. The National Highway Authority (NHA) has been spending on average $142 million per annum on up-gradation of all national highways, it reveals. Reportedly, an estimated 70 percent of Nato supplies move through Khyber and the bulk of Natos supplies arrive in the port city of Karachi, move north to Peshawar and head west to the Torkham crossing into Afghanistan for the final destination, Kabul. The rest of the supplies pass through the Chaman border crossing in Balochistan or arrive by air. When contacted, Minister for Communications Dr Arbab Alamgir admitted that the idea to introduce toll tax on the Nato trucks was under consideration as these heavily loaded trucks are badly damaging the road network. As per the plan, he said, the amount collected from this tax would be used for maintenance and repair of the damaged roads. The paucity of funds for development projects is already a big problem and these freight trucks are further worsening the situation, he maintained. Meanwhile, sources said Pakistan could not meet international road standards due to constrained economy and increased maintenance requirements of main national highway networks since 2002, when Afghan War started. The roads in Pakistan are generally designed for a service life of 10 years. As per study, sources said, due to rapid increase of transit traffic to Afghanistan, the traffic intensity has increased on three strategic national highways viz (N-5) Karachi-Lahore-Peshawar-Torkham (1,819 kilometers), (N-55) Heyderabad-Larkana-Kohat-Peshawar (1,264 Km), and (N-25) Karachi-Quetta-Chaman (813 Km). The Nato trucks are drastically reducing the road life of these highways, totaling approximately 4,000-km that serve as a spine of the national transportation system and cater to the needs of over 80pc of the total commercial and freight, it added.