SUKKUR/HYDERABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said the development of road infrastructure connecting all provinces of the country, particularly the disadvantaged areas, was crucial for strengthening the national economy.
The prime minister, who twice performed the foundation-laying of M-6 motorway – both in Sukkur and Hyderabad cities of Sindh province, said connecting the deprived areas including Balochistan and Sindh would pave the way for economic and social development besides creating new business opportunities.
With its ends in Sukkur and Hyderabad, the 306-km-long M-6 will be completed with Rs 307 billion within 30 months as per international standards. The M-6 portion will complete the North-South Motorway Corridor, also known as the Karachi-Peshawar motorway, and will interconnect major cities of the country.
The prime minister in his address at the two events said it was a matter of satisfaction for the coalition government to restore construction work of the M-6 motorway that faced a prolonged delay due to the inefficiency of the previous government.
He emphasized ensuring the quality and standard of the M-6 motorway no less than rest of the motorway network in the country.
He directed the relevant authorities to complete the public-private project within the stipulated period of time.
The prime minister encouraged Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal to promote further projects on public-private projects so as to achieve the goals of development and prosperity.
He also called for improving road connectivity from Balochistan to the up country in order to connect the significant Gwadar port and mainstream the province in the national economy.
He announced the completion of the Sukkur Rohri bridge, which was earlier announced by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and also directed improvement of Karachi-Hyderabad motorway to avoid traffic congestion and accidents.
Also, he announced that federal government would contribute Rs one billion to Sindh’s development fund to mitigate the sufferings of flood-affected people and urged the provincial government to allocate the same amount from their exchequer. He mentioned that federal and provincial governments, national and provincial disaster management authorities, and international aid agencies were collaborating in rehabilitation efforts.
Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan in the upcoming Donors Conference to be held in Geneva in January would urge the international community to provide assistance in the wake of massive life and infrastructure losses due to recent flash floods.
He criticized former prime minister Imran Khan for instigating public for his personal gains and said that instead, he should have protested over the manipulation of the cartels of sugar and wheat during his tenure. He hoped that public would not fall prey to his negative campaign.
Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah regretted that the apathy of the previous government delayed the construction of M-6 for over three years and emphasized that 25,000 jobs related to the project needed to be given to locals. He requested to allocated an amount for Sehwan Bypass in next budget.
He drew the attention of the government towards the need for the dewatering of flood-hit areas and expressed confidence that the federal government would continue to extend assistance to Sindh in this regard.
Federal Minister for Water Resources Syed Khurshid Shah said the M-6 motorway would prove as a milestone in strengthening the economy by promoting intra-country trade activities.
Federal Minister for Communications Asad Mehmood said the construction of the Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway (M-6) was a long-standing demand of the people of Sindh province, which has been fulfilled by the present coalition government.
He expressed satisfaction that Shehbaz Sharif was fulfilling the vision of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif regarding establishing a large network of motorways in the country as a step of development.
Federal Minister for Information Technology Amin ul Haq said M-6 motorway would connect various cities of the country and would promote trade activities.
Federal Secretary for Communications Capt (retd) Khurram Agha said the government would provide only Rs 9.5 billion and the construction would be carried out on a public-private basis.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Sindh chapter Rashid Mehmood Soomro said Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) would unitedly work towards carrying out projects of development across the country in the best public interest.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Dr Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, members of the provincial assembly, and officials of the Sindh government attended the two events.
The six-lane motorway will comprise 15 interchanges, a large bridge over the Sindh river, 82 bridges over canals, 19 underpass bridges, six flyovers, and 10 service areas. The project will create around 25,000 jobs.
The M-6 will pass through the districts of Jamshoro, Hyderabad, Matiari, Benazirabad, Nowshero Feroze, Khairpur, and Sukkur. Service areas and rest areas will be provided at every 50 km on both sides of the highway.