Length of Jhirk bridge on Indus River to be expanded

Karachi: The Public and Private Partnership (PPP) Policy Board in its 11th meeting held here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah at CM House today nodded in affirmative to increase the structural length of Jhirk-Mullakatiar bridge being constructed on Indus River from 1038 meters to 1700 meters on the recommendation of Indus River Commission (IRC) to ensure there should be zero influx because of bridge construction, specially during flood season.

The Board placed this proposal to Technical & Financial Evolution Committee (TFEC) of the project to examine and evaluate the issue of estimated cost escalation upto 250 to 275 million pertaining to this change.

It was informed in the meeting that work on this project was already in progress at its estimated cost of Rs 3.4 billion and it would further increased upto 250 to 275 million when length of bridge increased upto 1700 meter.

The Board also decided to rationalize toll tax charges at Hyderabad-Mirupurkhas Dual Carriage way the 1st project completed under PPP mode of development with a view to give relief to those commuters travelling at short distance but being charged full toll tax of Mirpurkhas.

The members of the Board made threadbare discussion over different proposal and studies, and deliberated over the issue with reference to public demand and found one of these proposals floated in the meeting that was to bifurcate journey into three sections and charging the proportional toll tax for each section of the journey separately.

This proposal was aimed at charging less from those travelling short distance. Sindh Minister for Livestock Jam Khan Shoro opposed the charging of full toll tax Mirpurkhas from the commuters going to Tando Jam or its vicinity and termed it as unjustified.

Similarly, Advisor to CM for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah said that such anomaly was discouraging commuters for payment and subsequently it was causing losses to the project partner and Sindh government as well.

He said that in order to avoid this anomaly, provide relief to the local commuters and encourage the private partnership for the future development, the rationalization in the toll tax on Hyd-Mirpurkhas Dual carriage was essential.

The Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah after discussion in detail formed a three-member committee headed by provincial secretary finance Sohail Rajput with representative from each stakeholder organizations as member to examine and evaluate the proposal for bifurcating the way into three sections and fixing the proportional charges for each section by keeping in view the positive socio economic impact of the decision on the people.

He directed committee to submit the report within three days to him. Addressing the meeting, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that the development projects being undertaken under the PPP mode of development were very much important for the socio economic development point of view.

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