Senate displeased over unilateral increase in toll fees on Motorways

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Islamabad—Senate Standing Committee on Communications on Friday expressed strong displeasure over unilateral increase in toll fees on the motorway and sought reply from the concerned departments by Oct 3.
The committee, which met here under the chairmanship of Senator Daud Achakzai said that the increase was totally unjustified and should be withdrawn. The representative of Frontier Works Organization (FWO) told the meeting that the toll was increased as per the toll structure given in the concession agreement with the NHA.
He said as per agreement, they were allowed to increase toll after completion of the recarpetting process of the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway.
Chairman NHA Shahid Ashraf Tarar said that his organization also had reservations over the toll increase and has approached the Secretary Communications in this regard. He said that the secretary has promised to sort out the matter within days. The members of the committee said that Lahore to Islamabad toll has been increased from Rs 480 to Rs 580 while Islamabad- Peshawar toll has reached Rs 280 from the previous Rs 200.
The members also complained that due to long queues at toll plazas of Islamabad and Peshawer precious time is wasted and the purpose of travelling by motorway is not served. The committee also showed annoyance over outsourcing of the test and interview process by the Motorway Police for new recruitments to a private testing system.
The committee was of the opinion that the Establishment Division had no powers to direct the institutions to organise their tests and interviews through such testing systems.
The committee was informed that feasibility and detailed design of the D.I. Khan-Sorab section of the CPEC will be submitted by September 30.
The chairman NHA told that the road will pass through seven districts of the province including Sherani, Zhob, Qilla Saifullah, Pishin, Quetta, Mastung and Kalat and its total length is 678.6 km.
The chairman said that the Prime Minister has promised to make arrangements for release of funds for the project and assured that its physical work would start during present fiscal year. The members of the committee said that despite Prime Minister’s directives, no allocations were made for the project in the current fiscal year.
Daud Achakzai said that the NHA was showing the projects of 2004 in the CPEC and if this was done in future, the matter will be taken to privilege committee of the House. The chairman NHA told the committee that presently China was funding two projects of the CPEC including Thakot-Havelian section and Sukkur-Multan section of the motorway.
About the Takhtbai flyover project the committee was informed that the project was nearing completion and it would be accomplished by end of November.—APP

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