ISLAMABAD - An on-ground inspection revealed that Gojra-Khanewal portion of Faisalabad-Multan Motorway (M-4) is most likely to miss its completion deadline of January 2019 due to pending work at site, a report stated.

The report recommends that ‘liquidated damages’ should be imposed on the contractor if he asks for extension as the required funds were provided to him against the project.

The M-4 consists of 4 portions, which includes 58 kilometres long Faisalabad-Gojra, 62 kilometres long Gojra-Shorkot, 64kms long Shorkot-Khanewal and 45kms long Khanewal-Multan portions.

Faisalabad-Gojra and Khanewal-Multan sections have already been completed and opened for traffic while work on the remaining 126kms long portion between Gojra to Khanewal is still underway. A deadline of January 2019 is set for completion of this portion by National Highway Authority (NHA).

But according to a report prepared by Ministry of Communications, the project will miss its deadline of 19th January 2019 as tentatively, 3 to 4 more months are required to complete the project.

The report observed that road structure of Gojra-Shorkot section has been completed but fencing, guard rail at some point and proper embankment have not been completed. It was further noted by the inspection team that in this section, quality check by the engineers/monitoring teams from NHA headquarter was still awaited.

The report further pointed out that proper embankment and fencing which is supposed to be completed in order to protect the road has not been done in the aforementioned section while the payment to the contractor has almost been completed.

It stated that overlay of road is completed at Shorkot-Khanewal section but compaction is not done.

“The 5 to 7 kilometres area of Package 3B from Abdul Hakeem junction of Lahore-Abdul Hakeem Motorway to GT road exit at Multan-Khanewal road has been completed for possible opening of Lahore-Abdul Hakeem motorway. However, the embankment, drains and fencing have not been completed, the report maintained.

Total cost of the project according to PC-I is Rs60.82 billion, which was initiated in 2010. An amount of Rs10 billion is allocated in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the financial year 2018-19 for the project.

The inspection team in its recommendations stated that the embankment, fencing and the quality check of aforementioned sections by quality monitoring team from the NHA headquarters should be done as soon as possible so that the possible issues might be addressed timely.

“Since the funds have been released timely therefore the project should have been completed within the prescribed time of the contract. If there is extension required by the contractor, the imposition of the liquidated damages may be considered”, the report recommended.

It further suggested that for timely completion of the project, a continuous monitoring with a gap of few weeks is required and the incumbents at site may be given directions accordingly.

Timely completion of the project is quite necessary because it will improve Pakistan’s vital north-south road network, promote economic growth, create employment opportunities and ensure regional connectivity, the report stated.