» » » Cost of Lowari Tunnel project jumps up to Rs 2.68 billion

ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved the revised estimate of Lowari Road Tunnel and Access Road project at the cost of Rs 2.685 billion.

The project will be completed by October 2017.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting of the ECNEC here at the Prime Minister's Secretariat on Monday.

The revision of cost of the Lowari Tunnel project is the result of an increase in the scope of work of the project that includes widening of width of the tunnel from 6 meter to 7.5 meter with a height of 5 meters.

The scope of work includes provision of ventilation and electrical work for road tunnel, construction of platforms, operational buildings along with allied facilities and installations and equipment for snow clearing.

Widening of 130.22km long N-45 project also got approval from the ECNEC at a revised cost of Rs 1.742 billion. Both Lowari Tunnel project and N-45 project will prove to be a strategic asset for Pakistan, the meeting observed.

The meeting also approved Balochistan Integrated Water Resource Management and Development Project (BIWRMDP) at the updated cost of Rs 2.216 billion. The project will cover almost one-fourth of the Balochistan area and will provide multiple benefits to the people of Balochistan such as clean drinking water facility, reducing the risk of floods, less erosion, more fuel wood, more fodder for livestock, saving endangered forests for mangroves and juniper and enhanced agriculture productivity. The project cost includes $200 million as foreign aid from the IDA. It will be completed in six years.

Another project the committee approved was construction of Burhan-Havelian Expressway at the revised PC cost of Rs 3.416 billion. The project is expected to be completed by September 2017. The cost of the project is revised due to addition of 3rd lane on either side of the already ongoing project. The revised project is being funded through ADB loan of $200 million. The ADB has also agreed to provide remaining loan amount for additional scope of work.

Speaking on the occasion, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Muzafar Said thanked the federal government for expediting work on the projects as they were of vital importance to the province.

The ECNEC also considered and approved installation of ship lift and transfer system and associated machinery and equipment to provide docking and repair facilities to surface ships, submarines and commercial vessels at the Karachi Shipyard at the revised and rationalised cost of Rs 9.56 billion. The facility will cater to commercial vessels having dead weight net lifting capacity up to 7,781 tonnes along with establishment of 13 fully equipped repair stations. The project will be completed by September 2017.

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