Islamabad: The Executive Board of the National Highway Authority (NHA) on 7 September approved the award of work for the construction of two sections of the Yakmach-Kharan road in Balochistan at a cost of Rs4.953 billion. A meeting of the board was informed that the new road in backward areas of Balochistan, once completed, would serve as a useful link with the Nokundi-Mashkel-Panjgur road whose inclusion in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had been approved in principle and the formal approval was expected in the coming meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) later this year.

The board meeting was presided over by Chairman NHA Shahid Ashraf Tarar and attended by high officials of the Ministry of Communications. The Yakmach-Kharan road project is being executed under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). It's PC-1, of Rs13.758 billion, was approved earlier by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec). The PSDP allocation for the project for the year 2017-18 is Rs3 billion. The Express Tribune, an NHA official privy to the development said the 200-kilometer road project had been divided into four sections of about 50km each, which hopefully would be completed in two years. This road is being constructed in the most backward areas of the Balochistan province where currently no road network exists. Hopefully, once this road is completed, it will help poor people living in the area to get job opportunities. He said the work on two sections of the road had started and the construction of the remaining portion would also begin soon.

 The contracts for both the third and fourth sections of the project were awarded to Sachal Engineering Works, the lowest evaluated bidder. The bid price for the third package was Rs2.458 billion, 14.43% below the engineers’ estimate, and for the 48km fourth section Rs2.495 billion, 10.42% below the estimate. The NHA board also approved a proposal for the establishment of nine Emergency Response Centres (ERC) in Balochistan. These centers will be set up in Dhanasar, Mina Bazar, Kalat, Surab, Wad, Kararo, Nag, Wangu, and Hoshab. The chairman said the NHA would establish the response centers from its own resources and they would be equipped with various facilities, including doctors, paramedics, and ambulances, to provide timely aid and care to those injured in accidents on the national highways.

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