ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Communication on Monday directed the National Highway Authority (NHA) to discourage the construction of interchanges on motorways for private housing societies who, it said, only minted money.
Some private housing societies have purchased lands near motorways at nominal rates and given access to the motorway through construction of interchanges, in a bid to raise the prices of the plots they offer. The committee said construction of several interchanges on the motorways will destroy the basic concept of freeway, and thus should be discourage. However, some members of the committee were of the view that motorways were built for the welfare of the people, and the private societies should be allowed to construct interchanges.
They said that the Islamabad to Peshawar, and Islamabad to Lahore to Faisalabad motorway has seen a mushroom growth of private housing societies and everyone wants to connect to the motorway through construction of an interchange. The committee chairman was of the view that the entire committee will check the draft policy presented by the NHA and then forward its detailed recommendations.
NHA Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar informed the committee that the NHA has already banned construction of interchanges exclusively for private housing societies but in this regard, there is a need for proper policy, which has already been forwarded to the committee for consideration. He said that the committee must take a decision to allow the construction of interchanges within the range of 5 or 10 kilometers or on the bases of population. He said the issue already has been taken up by the National Highway Executive Board, but they want suggestions from the Senate’s committee.
The NHA chairman also informed the committee that the National Logistics Cell has agreed to hand over all 28 toll plazas to the NHA. The committee expressed displeasure over non-construction of roads to Kalam, Swat, which has left the local hotel industry on the brink of collapse. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa MPA Jafar Shah briefed the committee about the dilapidated conditions of the roads in Swat. However, the NHA chairman assured the committee that work on Kalam roads will begin soon because the tendering process has already been completed. He said that from July 10, the work on Kalam road would begin and asked the areas senator/MPA to come and see the work there.
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