Work on Rs29b road projects set to start

ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will inaugurate two major road projects, worth Rs29 billion, in Balochistan on Saturday, according to National Highway Authority (NHA) spokesperson Shahid Zaman.

Zaman told The Express Tribune on Wednesday that the Yakmach-Kharan road project, costing Rs14 billion, and the Khuzdar-Shahdadkot road project, costing Rs15 billion, were part of government’s plan to improve and widen road network in Balochistan.

The Yakmach-Kharan project, he said, would serve as an important section of the NHA system which would link Karachi with the Iranian border with shortest distance through N-25 (Quetta-Karachi), thus cutting a distance of more than 250 km. The 200 km long road had been divided in to four sections of 50 km each, he added.

“One of its sections is expected to be completed this year and the remaining in two years. This road project is located in the remote part of the province connecting three districts namely Chaghi, Washak and Kharan,” he added.

According to the NHA spokesperson, the area covered by the Yakmach-Kharan road project is full of natural resources. With improved connectivity, the pace of development in the area will increase considerably, and transportation of minerals from Chaghi district, mainly Reko Diq, to Karachi will become quick and easy.

“It will also serve as an alternate short route for transportation of goods between Iran and Karachi which is currently being carried out through long distance route via Lakpass on N-25,” he said, adding that an estimated 500 vehicles would daily travel on this road and more than a million people from Basima, Kharan, Yakmach, Nukundi, Naushki and Taftan would benefit from the project.

Zaman described the Khuzdar-Shahdadkot road project as ‘another extremely important project’ which would provide the much-needed connectivity between Balochistan and Sindh provinces. “It also offers a link for the traffic coming from Gwadar Port and heading towards Sindh and other parts of the country,” he added.

“The 151 km long road passes through a difficult terrain in Wangu Hill area and has been one of the challenging projects for the NHA,” he said, adding that on completion, the project would improve local economy through accelerated trade activities and contribute towards poverty reduction in Balochistan.