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26 September 2002 Thursday 18 Rajab 1423



More motorways to be constructed: Tenders being issued

By Our Staff Reporter


ISLAMABAD, Sept 25: The government, after reviewing its policy about the motorway, has decided to construct more similar motorways as it no longer considered the motorway as 'luxury road'.

National Highway Authority (NHA) Chairman Maj-Gen Farrukh Javed said on Wednesday that the government was in the process of issuing tenders for another section of the motorway, starting from Faislabad to Khanewal.

Talking to reporters at the site office of M-3 at Ghartal, Faislabad, he said it was correct that the existing motorway was not being used by the motorists and truckers, which was projected during its approval, but added that 'such roads were needed for future.'

When asked to comment as to why the present government had abandoned the project by calling it a luxury road, the chairman said that he was of a different view on the issue.

He said the NHA was working on a plan for improving its road network to make Pakistan a transit country for approaching the Central Asian States riches. "Germany, the USA, UK and other developed countries had used this concept to improve their economies," he remarked.

Earlier, Sheikh Yousaf, owner of Husnain Construction, which is the contractor for M-3, explained the phases for which his company passed for converting the M-3 project from the Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) plan to the government funded project.

When asked as to how much his company had been helped by Brig Aftab Siddiqui (Rtd), father-in-law of Bilal Musharraf, he said the gentleman had worked with his company as a consultant.

Mr Yousaf said it was originally agreed that he would get two per cent of the profit from the project for 25 years, but since the project had been converted to a government funded plan, Aftab Siddiqui was no longer with his company. The cost of M-3 is Rs7 billion.

He, however, said Mr Siddiqui had been paid for the 'services' which he rendered, but refused to give more details.

Everything was documented, and the payments to Mr Siddiqui had been made through cheques the copies of which had been provided to " a number of government departments," he said. Then his son rushed to the stage and asked Mr Yousaf not to answer more queries on the subject.

Mr Yousaf said the company was heading the consortium of the Pakistani construction companies called PAMIC, and added that they were completing the project to show that the country had the expertise to construct the motorway.

He said it was the first contract of its kind which had no escalation clause.

When asked as to how many projects his company had fetched in the period of military government, he avoided giving straight answer, and said that whatever his company had got was on merit. He admitted that he had purchased about a dozen sick industrial units.

The NHA chief stressed the need to develop the Western part of the country along River Indus and close to Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan had got the contract for construction of road from Chaman to Kandahar. Negotiations for Torkhum to Kabul road were under way , he added.

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The DAWN Group of Newspapers, 2002