ISLAMABAD: The National Highways Authority (NHA) Executive Board has reviewed its earlier decision and approved three mega road projects including Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway (M-6), a critical component of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode with an upfront government support in the form of Viability Gap Funding (VGF).

Documents available with Business Recorder revealed that the PC-I will be revised/prepared accordingly and submitted for approval, in addition to seeking approval from Public Private Partnership Authority (P3A).

The chairman NHA chaired a meeting of the Executive Board and discussed construction of PPP projects with the support of VGF.

The NHA Executive Board had earlier approved the implementation of Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway (M-6) on PPP mode (Option 3A: BOT-Cross Subsidy + NHA Revenue share) by cross-subsidising the net toll revenue only of Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5) up to the end of debt servicing period.

The concessionaire will be responsible for operation and maintenance of Motorway M-5 during that period, except the service areas and commercialisation of ROW revenue which will remain under the control of the NHA.

However, the NHA Executive Board has reviewed its earlier decision and allowed the NHA to implement following projects on the PPP mode with an upfront government support in the form of the VGF.

These projects include; (a) Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway (M-6); (b) Sialkot-Kharian Motorway; and (c) Balkasar-Mianwali Road (Dualization and Rehabilitation).

The PC-I will be revised/prepared accordingly and submitted for approval in addition to seeking approval from the P3A.

A senior official revealed that the NHA will take Sukkur-Hyderabad motorway project on PPP basis but will also seek government finances to bridge the funding gap.

The NHA did not receive a good response with only one party showing interest to pick the project on PPP mode last time which was estimated to be completed with Rs175 billion.

The NHA would contact the Planning Commission and would seek government finances for the project, the official added.

The official, on condition of anonymity, revealed that the project cost may escalate due to inordinate delay.

The Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway project envisages construction of 306kms long, six-lane wide, access-controlled motorway.

The motorway is proposed to be a high-speed toll road facility for efficient and safe transportation, which will start from Hyderabad (end of Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway M-9) and terminate at Naro Canal (start of Sukkur-Multan Motorway M-5).

The project alignment passes through Jamshoro, Tando Adam, Hala, Shahdadpur, Nawabshah, Moro, Dadu, Naushehro Feroze, Mehrabpur, Rasoolpur, Larkana, Khairpur, and Sukkur.

For the Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway project, an advertisement was released in the national and international print media on October 10, 2016, inviting Expression of Interest (EoI) regarding pre-qualification of firms.

The NHA bid opening/evaluation committee opened technical proposals on February 14, 2017.

Subsequent to the finalisation of technical evaluation, financial proposals of all the three bidders were opened on March 7, 2017, and scheduled completion of the project in three years at a cost of Rs175 billion.

However, after assuming power, the incumbent government shelved Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway (M-6) project.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) recently approved the project at a cost of Rs 175 billion, and the paper work of Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway is being completed.—TAHIR AMIN