ISLAMABAD - National Highways Authority (NHA), Chairman, Syed Muhammad Ali Gardezi has said that all targets to complete main road projects of the country will be accomplished as per the schedule, subject to the provision of funds.

Nearly 70 highway schemes are under way in whole country for which Rs 108 billion are required, he said while chairing 214th NHA’s Executive Board meeting, in which various aspects of countrywide national highways projects were reviewed. He said that last year the liabilities in road maintenance account were Rs 15 billion, which have been decreased to Rs 7.5 billion this year.

Gardezi said that NHA has succeeded in clearing liabilities of the contractors to tune of Rs 14 billion, and that construction work on all the major projects are in progress. Most of the schemes will be realised by June 2012, he added.

He assured to achieve all the targets as per schedule subject to the provision of funds. The Executive Board also reviewed progress of Lowari Tunnel project in detail.

A comparative statement was presented before the board according to which a huge amount will be required if the project is continued with M/s Sambu Company as it is demanding escalation in the cost. The board was also apprised with the proposal of handing it over to FWO and a comparative statement about the estimated cost of the additional work was also presented.

The FWO has submitted an estimate cost of around Rs 6 billion to complete the additional work, which is within original PC-I of Rs 18 billion. FWO may complete this project in four and a half year. While the cost and escalation demanded by M/s Sambo will increase the price from the original cost of the project.

The Executive Board meeting directed NHA to review various options for earlier completion of Lowari Tunnel. Due to change in design and delay in revised PC-I, the tunnel completion has lagged behind.

The Executive Board accorded approval of Rs 48 crore for Chakdara Bridge and Rs 2 Billion for Gwadar-Ratodero Motorway (M-8). The Board was informed that last year the liabilities in Road maintenance account were 15 billion, which have been decreased to 7.5 billion this year.

NHA will spend Rs 13 billion for maintenance of roads during the current financial year. Kohala-Muzaffarabad road and Sarhad Bypass-Dehrki Projects were also approved by the Board.

The meeting was also attended by Abdul Khaliq Additional Secretary Finance Division, Abdul Basit Khan Senior Joint Secretary Ministry of Communications, Wajid Ali Durrani IG NH&MP, Qazi Iftikhar Ahmed Vice President NESPAK, Tahir Sharif Chief NTRC, Muneer Ahmed Anjum Chief (T&C) Planning Commission, Sabir Hassan Member (Planning) NHA, Shoaib Ahmed Khan Member (Finance) NHA & Ch. Khalid Naseem Secretary NHA.