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1- AGRICULTURE: GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS
2- SMES: DRIVING ECONOMIC GROWTH
3- THE QUALITY OF IRRIGATION WATER
4- BUSINESS: THE PICNIC FARMS IN KARACHI
5-
MAKRAN COASTAL HIGHWAY

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MAKRAN COASTAL HIGHWAY

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A way to uplift the remote areas

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By SAMINA VIQAR

Dec 20 - 26, 2004
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Balochistan is the largest province as far as the area is concerned. However, after establishment of Pakistan, this province could not make as much progress on socioeconomic level as was needed. The present government is desirous of rapid development particularly in remote parts of the country. To this effect pragmatic measures have been adopted to build a coordinated road network throughout the country, and for that an amount of Rs. 17 billion, for construction, extension, maintenance and improvement of national highways has been allocated in this current budget which is an ample proof of government's seriousness and interest in streamlining the highway system.

National Highway Authority, an attached department of Ministry of Communications, is engaged on a number of highway projects in Balochistan and that the Makran Coastal highway stands prominent among them, which has recently been completed from Lyari to Gwadar by NHA. Makran Coastal Highway has been built along the Arabian Sea and that small ports and fish harbours like Ormara, Pasni and Jivani are situated along this coastal belt.

The total length of the Makran Coastal Highway from Lyari to Gwadar is 529 Kms and it is divided into three sections i.e. Lyari-Ormara (242 Km), Ormara-Pasni (152 Km), Pasni-Gwadar (135 Km).

529 Km highway from Lyari to Gwadar has been constructed at cost of Rs. 10 billion. However, the last portion from Gwadar to Gabd has not yet been undertaken.

Construction of Makran Coastal Highway is a masterpiece of engineering realized by the Pakistani experts. 63 bridges, 1,433 culverts and 4 causeways have been provided on this highway.

Lyari-Ormara section and Pasni-Gwadar sections is built by the Frontier Works Organization, while the middle section i.e., Ormara-Pasni was completed by M/s Al-Khan Construction Company, M/s A.M Construction and M/s Sardar Muhammad Ashraf D. Balouch. The consultancy services were obtained from the internationally reputed firms during construction activity. LRA Group of Consultants, a consortium of Loya Associates, Republic Engineering Corporation and A. A. Associates are the Supervisory Consultants for Lyari-Ormara Section. The supervision for sub-sections I, II & III of Ormara-Pasni Section has been assigned to M/s SAMPAK, M/s A.C.C & M/s Indus Associated Consultants respectively. Engineering Consultants International (Pvt.) LW, is the Supervisory Consultant for Pasni-Gwadar Section. Another salient feature of the Makran Coastal Highway is that it has been completed 4-month ahead of schedule.

Construction of Coastal Highway was a difficult assignment for the builders who had to face multi-faceted problems. Provision of building material in desolate and barren areas and lack of water were great problems besides extreme weather conditions. In such situation completion of this highway is undoubtedly a remarkable achievement of the NHA.

Makran Coastal Highway will provide numerous economic, social and strategic benefits. It will also provide an all-weather route to serve the population in entire coastal region, besides facilitating communication, trade, fish produce and export by linking Karachi with ports and fish harbours of Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar and Jivani.

 

 

With the completion of the Makran Coastal Highway, the first phase of Gwadar Port has also been completed and has become operational. This encouraging situation will greatly facilitate trade traffic between Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Gulf and Central Asian States in addition to giving boost to inland trade activity. The development of the communication facilities in Makran Coastal area will attract people from various parts of the country to invest and set up industries and business enterprises. It will also provide impetus to marketing of arts and craft, agriculture veering, marine catch and mineral exploration. The Jinnah Naval base of Pakistan Navy having strategic importance will also be served by this highway.

Realization of Makran Coastal Highway and that working of Gwadar Port will cast far-reaching positive effects on the economy of the country as well as of the whole region.

Moreover, because of scenic beauty of the coast, the completion of this road will help develop tourism industry. There are enchanting forests of Timer at Kulmat Hore ahead of Ormara. The Island of Astola in open sea far from the coast of Pasni is also worth-seeing and there is much to be discovered here. At a distance of 105 Km from Zero-point at Agore, Shabbir Bridge has been built over River Hingole. At 14 Km left-side of this bridge there is an old Temple of the Hindus named "Nani's Mander". The Hindus visit this Temple once a year. In the surrounding areas of Agore, there is much attraction for the tourists. Ahead of Shabbir Bridge series of hills and rocks starts which reminds you of Egyptian Civilization. The head of Sphinx, a boy head and lady standing elegantly with hat on her head, given the name of the "Princess of Hope" during construction of grand coastal highway, makes you wonder who is the artist of these pieces in this wilderness.

Besides Makran Coastal Highway, National Highway Authority is also planning/implementing other highway projects in Balochistan which also include 893 Km long Ratodero-Gawadr Motorway (M-8), Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab highway, Kalat-Quetta-Chamman highway, Karachi-Quetta-Chamman highway, Lakpass-Dalbandin-Taftan highway, Sukkur-Sibbi-Quetta highway, Qila Saifullah-Loralai-Bewata-D.G.Khan-Muzaffargarh-Multan highway and Kuchlac-Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan highway.

All these developmental projects will link up the internal regions of Balochistan, and establishment of trade ties with Central Asian States via Iran and Afghanistan will put Balochistan on the track towards economic uplift. Existence of highways will provide easy access to the natural resources here and they will be used for national welfare and betterment in a more proper and effective way.