CPEC western route to help develop ex-FATA, Balochistan: PM

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Inaugurates Hakla-DI Khan motorway: Stresses on inclusive development
ISLAMABAD
Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed that connecting the long-neglected tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan with road infrastructure will usher in a new era of development and prosperity in the country.
Speaking at an inauguration ceremony of 293 kilometres long Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan Motorway on Wednesday, which is an important part of the Western route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the prime minister said that linking the tribal areas and Balochistan with road infrastructure will bring a revolution in the country and ensure a bright future.
Hakla-DI Khan motorway has 11 interchanges, 36 bridges, 33 flyovers and 119 underpasses. It would help in transforming D I Khan as one of the main business hubs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, linking South Punjab and Balochistan. It would also enable supply of agricultural produce to different parts of the country. The premier said the completion of the first phase of western route under the CPEC project would ensure economic development in the backward areas.
Khan stressed the need for inclusive development so that no region lags behind in development. He said the State of Madina was the most successful model in the world as it uplifted the common man and ensured rule of law and meritocracy.
He pointed out that regardless of inflation; the incumbent government completed the road infrastructure projects at less cost than the previous regime. He said previously the development of the country was confined only to GT road, Lahore, and onwards to Karachi which was also called as Eastern route of the CPEC.
“But a country achieves progress if there is uniform development across its length and breadth. It is made possible due to long-term planning like China which has planned 30 years ahead,” he added. He made it clear that future planning would envisage a roadmap towards progress, embracing all parts of the country.
The lack of facilities forced the inhabitants of DIKhan and Mianwali to move to developed cities which also resulted in the brain drain and flight of talent, he added.
He expressed the confidence that the motorway would go a long way in raising the standards of living of these areas and by reducing the distance from seven hours to three hours from Islamabad to DIKhan.
The prime minister said that during the last 25 years, he had been consistently maintaining that corruption had been the biggest issue of Pakistan.
He regretted that roads were constructed in the past to mint money whilst ignoring regions such as Balochistan.
“Roads were constructed for making money. How come that roads during 2013 were constructed costly and now being completed at the lowest costs,” he expressed his wonder. The prime minister said construction of dual roads in the past cost double.
“About Rs1,000 billion had gone to the pockets of the corrupt, and it happened with a poor nation,” he regretted.
Commending efforts of the minister for communication, the prime minister said his ministry had been among the top three performing ministries.
He said revenues of the National Highway Authority had been doubled after steps taken against corruption including E-tendering, besides, recovery of NHA encroached land worth Rs 5 billion.
The prime minister said: “We have also introduced a health card scheme to develop a better healthcare system.” He said all the households in Punjab will be provided with health cards by March this year. He said the people in the backward areas like Mianwali would have the facility of availing the best treatment facilities due to the health cards.
Each family would get treatment worth Rs1 million free of cost. Such initiative would also enable the private sector to establish a health network in these areas, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed said that work on Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan Motorway had been completed with the deployment of NHA personnel.
He said National Highway Authority (NHA)’s total revenues were increased by 125 percent, witnessing Rs102 billion increase in the last three years. He said that an amount of Rs5 billion was recovered from retrieving the encroached land. Providing further details, Murad said NHA had completed work on about 2032 kilometers of roads and planned construction of further 7889 kms roads.
He said his ministry had achieved the five years targets within a three years span. Construction of dual lanes per km now stood around Rs111 million while its cost during the previous government was Rs118 per km whereas four-lane cost per km was now 170 million rupees compared with Rs370 million spent by the past government. He said all this was achieved despite a surge in global inflation and the cost of materials. The minister said that E-procurement was launched for transparency and also completed a GIS field survey of all roads.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, unlike the previous rulers, had completed work on road projects at half cost and also started work on additional roads network, he added. The minister said a true leader always thinks of the country and its people ahead of everything.