Peshawar: The 15th Annual Pakhtunkhwa Highway Council (PkHC) meeting, held under the chairmanship of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister (CM) Pervez Khattak, approved the construction of nine new highways with an estimated cost of Rs 2 billion, repair and maintenance of 2,467 km of roads with cost of Rs 1 billion, and the construction of 43 km of new roads under Pakhtunkhwa Highway Authority (PkHA). The council meeting held at Peshawar CM House was also attended by Advisor to Chief Minister for Communication and Works Akbar Ayub Khan, Local Government Minister Inayatullah Khan, Finance Minister Muzaffar Said Advocate, Finance Secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan, Communication and Works Secretary Asif Khan and PkHA Managing Director Muhammad Uzair Khan, besides other senior officials. The implementation of decisions of the previous annual meeting of PkHC and the directives of CM in this regard were also reviewed.

The construction of new highways under the Annual Development Plan for the current financial year, maintenance and repair of existing roads, development of two new roads under PkHA, service regulations of PkHA, enhancement of the power and the structural strengthening of PkHA, operations against encroachment and the resource generation matters for PkHA, were thoroughly discussed wherein significant decisions were made on such agenda items. The timely completion of Swat Expressway, costing Rs 34 billion, under Public Private Partnership was also stressed during the meeting. The progress on 2,500 meters long dual tunnels of the motorway was also shared with the participants who were informed that the tunnels would be completed in five to six months on both sides of the mountain.

Progress on Provincial Roads Rehabilitation Project, funded by the Asian Development Bank, was also reviewed and necessary decisions were taken in this regard. The meeting was told that the government wanted to develop the scenic touristic spot of Malam Jabba on modern lines with the sole aim to promote tourism in KP. On this, the CM directed PkHA managing director to complete the construction work of Malam Jabba road at the earliest and make efforts to get extended cooperation from locals and the private sector in this respect. Furthermore, progress regarding the collection of toll taxes on provincial highways and removal of roadside encroachments was also reviewed. Khattak directed the officials concerned not to show any leniency to law violators in order to ensure foolproof road safety management.

The pace of work on Charsadda-Tangi and Charsadda-Mardan road dualisation projects, an extension of Malang Baba-Nizampur road and Bannu bypass were also deliberated upon in the meeting. In addition, approval was granted to PkHA for the feasibility study and engineering design for Kumrat-Kalam road project.

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