National Assembly Standing Committee on Communications meets 

Islamabad, November 23, 2021 (PPI-OT):9th meeting of the Standing Committee on Communications was held today under the Chairmanship of Mr. Ibadullah Khan, MNA. The meeting commenced with recitation from the Holy Quran. The Chairman welcomed all participants and after a brief introduction of participants the Committee decided to proceed as per the agenda.

The Member South Lahore, National Highway Authority (NHA), briefed the Committee regarding Farooqabad (Chohar Kana) interchange on M-2. He informed that the original PC-I cost of the project was Rs. 861.38 million, recommended on 10-07-2017, while rationalized PC-I cost is Rs. 794.95 million that is recommended by CDWP on 15-09-2021 NHA requested the concessionaire to rationalize the estimated cost and bring the same within PC-I cost of the project, no response has received from M/s More. However, due to price hike and inflation, the project cost needs to be worked out on CSR 2021. For acquisition of land funds to the tune of Rs. 119.45 million are required, but no further proceedings could be carried out due to non-availability of funds. The Committee recommended that the Farooqabad (Chohar Kana) interchange on M-2 may be included in the next PSDP.

The Committee was briefed by the General Manager ROW about deputing inspectors to check the prices of food stuff in the service areas on motorways. The Committee was informed that NHA observes zero tolerance policy on overpricing and sale of substandard edible items in the service areas. Three-pronged policy adopted by NHA includes enforcement of contractual obligations; NHA snap checking teams at field offices and monitoring by district management. Moreover, fine limit has been increased from Rs. 10,000 – 100,000 to 50,000 – 250,000 to curb overpricing at service areas and rest areas. The Committee did not agree with NHA’s efforts and its results and desired tangible improvement in this regard.

The Member (North Zone) Peshawar briefed the Committee on stoppage of construction of Lowari Tunnel approach roads and the non-payment to the labour working on the project. He informed that the south access road (package II) has been substantially completed, i.e. 98%, while defect liability will be completed in December, 2021. On the north access road (Package II) construction work of 7.3 km has been suspended due to pending approval of revision of PC-I (3rd revised) for Lowari Tunnel and Access Roads Project.

At present 61.57% work is completed, the completion is expected within 06 months after the approval of revision of PC-I (3rd Revised). The matter of non-payment to the labour working on the project pertains to a dispute between the contractor and its staff. The contractor has been instructed to resolve the issue on an early basis. The Committee recommended that the Planning Commission may consider and present the 3rd Revised PC-I of Lowari Tunnel Project before CDWP/ECNEC.

The General Manager Revenue briefed the Committee on criteria of awarding contract on M-I. The Initial plan for procurement of toll plazas on Islamabad – Peshawar Motorway, along with provision of allied services was got approved from the competent authority. The method for award of contract was as per PPRA Rule 36(b) single stage two envelop basis. Contract for Lahore -Islamabad Motorway was awarded for overlay and modernization of existing M-2 through open competitive bidding. The overall weighting for technical proposal was 40% while for financial proposal was 60%.

The Bill titled “The Pakistan Postal Services Management Board (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (moved by Mr. Amjad Ali Khan, MNA)” was deferred by the Committee till its next meeting. A sub-Committee was constituted under the convener-ship of Syed Ayaz Ali Sheerazi to examine NHA on-going projects in Balochistan and Sindh and Post offices in Sajawal and Daro (Sindh).

Hon. Members/MNAs Prince Muhammad Nawaz Allai, Mr. Saleh Muhammad, Engr. Usman Khan Tarakai, Mr. Muhammad Aslam Khan, Mir Khan Muhammad Jamali, Mr. Jai Parkash, Mr. Usama Qadri, Mr. Ehsanullah Reki, Mr. Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Dr. Darshan, Syed Abrar Ali Shah, Syed Ayaz Ali Shah Sheerazi, Mr. Ramesh Lal, Sardar Muhammad Irfan Dogar and the senior officers from the Ministry of Communications, National Highways Authority, Ministry of Law and Justice and Pakistan Post attended the meeting.

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