Thatta Dual Carriageway Project will herald new vista of investment: CM

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Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that Thatta-Karachi Dualway Carriage will prove a milestone in the development of the province.

The chief minister was addressing the signing ceremony of financing agreement of Thatta-Karachi Dual Carriageway Project at the CM House on Tuesday, said a statement issued on Tuesday.

He said he was committed to the people and the leadership to develop Sindh and create congenial atmosphere for investment in industrial sector, particularly in Thar coal filed.

He said for building infrastructure and commitment of providing better road network, the works and services department in association with the Sindh Public Private Partnership Unit was going to launch Karachi-Thatta Dual Carriageway Project.

The project was the most important artery in the province from Karachi to Thatta and a larger economic benefit of this project was linked with connecting this corridor from Thatta towards Thar for Thar coal field, he added.

The CM said the improved access envisaged would serve thousands of commuters living along the Karachi Thatta route and those who were already using this facility up to Thatta or beyond.

It was also expected that the improved facility would help open up these areas from creation of soft infrastructure such as better services for schools and health centers as these areas would become easy to reach through this project, he said.

Addressing on the occasion, Senior Minister for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah said the importance of the project was also highlighted with its connection with the Thar Coal Field Area. He said after a fair and transparent bidding process, the Sindh government had joined hands with the Frontier Works Organisation (the pioneers of infrastructure development in Pakistan) under the public private partnership mode to dualise the existing National Highway N-5 starting from Gaggar Phatak to Thatta Bypass having total length of 49 kilo meters.

Giving details of the project, Syed Murad Shah said the cost of the project was Rs 1.35 billion. He said as per the financial structure of the project, 70 per cent of the cost, which was around Rs 6,199 million, would be arranged through commercial loan. The remaining 30 per cent amount of Rs 2,657 million would be contributed through equity, he added.

Furthermore, 53.3 per cent of the equity or Rs 1,417 million would be contributed by the FWO whereas the remaining 46.7 per cent or Rs 1,240 million would be given by the Sindh government.

It may be recalled that the concession agreement for the project was signed on May 7, 2015, between the works and services department and the FWO in the presence of CM Sindh.

The commercial operations are expected to commence by the end of 2017. The FWO shall design and construct the dual carriageway within the construction period of two years, and it is also required to operate and maintain the dual carriageway through the life of concession period – 25 years. FWO Director General Major General Mohammad Afzal said it was an honour for him that his organisation was going to contribute in the development of Sindh. The ceremony was attended by Sindh ministers, secretaries, representatives of FWO, Dubai Islamic Bank and other concerned.