Federal Secretary Communications Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui has assured that the technical committee, tasked to decide the fate of load issue being faced by heavy vehicles, will be directed to expedite the process of finalizing the weight limits for numerous heavy vehicles in coordination with all stakeholders so that a mutually acceptable mechanism could be introduced at the earliest.
Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday, Federal Secretary said that the technical committee would finalize weight limits strictly in consultation with all stakeholders including representatives from KCCI and Goods Transporters Associations as the government was keen to ensure Ease of Doing Business in consultation with all stakeholders.
“This committee would soon come up with a positive news”, he added. President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Vice President Asif Sheikh Javaid, Former Senior Vice President Jawed Bilwani, Chairman Communications Subcommittee Shahid Ismail, KCCI Managing Committee Members and representatives of Good Transporters Associations along with NHA and Motorway officials also attended the meeting.
Shoaib Siddiqui stressed that all stakeholders including the government will have to make collective efforts with open minds to resolve issues being faced by the business community. “The present government and the Minister for Communication have been pursuing a very strong policy to promote and support the economy, trade, businesses and connectivity which is the only way to ensure socio-economic development. Socio-economic development can only be ensured when the wheels of economy continue to spin without any kind of interruption and the people realize their responsibility of paying taxes”, he added.
He said that resolving issues being faced by transporters was one of the foremost priorities of the Ministry of Communications therefore, they have constantly been holding meetings with transporters from all over Pakistan and accordingly taking remedial steps for creating an enabling environment. “It is my utmost desire that the transport sector, which is the backbone of country’s economy, progresses well as I firmly believe that road development is the mother of all developments.
If our road infrastructure is improved and made safe & secure, it would result in improving the economy and also all types of businesses. Hence, a maintenance campaign has also been launched across Pakistan to improve all the motorways”, he added. He said that all relevant ministries including railways ministry, ports & shipping ministry and communication ministry will be asked to sit together to discuss numerous issues being faced by the transport sector and devise strategies which are in favor of the economy and all the stakeholders.
“We have to take steps to transform the existing motorways by introducing the concept of smart motorways and maximize the number facilities which are already on our agenda”, Shoaib Siddiqui said, adding that the highways need to be strengthened, modernized and made presentable, beautiful and clean through a massive campaign which is already underway as all the departments under the purview of Ministry of Communications were busy in an aggressive plantation campaign and anti-encroachment operation.
He also instructed NHA Member South, who was also present at the meeting, to look into the possibility of broadening the ICI Bridge and installation of solar lights at the entry and exist points of Lyari Expressway, besides coming up with a strategy on how to deal with long queues at the entry points of Lyari Expressway. He informed that plan has been finalized for expansion of Northern Bypass and an advertisement to seek bids has already been floated by NHA.
The consultancy work will be awarded soon to double track the Northern bypass in order to make the north-bound traffic movement safe and secure on this particular highway. Earlier President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, while expressing deep concerns over issuance of a notice in which impractical weight limits have been defined for heavy vehicles, said that this was purely against the government’s policy pertaining to Ease of Doing Business hence it needs to be reviewed. He requested the Communication Secretary to come up with a reasonable solution in consultation with KCCI and all other stakeholders. He was of the opinion that overlapping responsibilities, conflicts of interest and poor coordination across the various development agencies and authorities have restricted the implementation of numerous projects, resulting in creating a lot of problems for the transport sector. He said that the government must devise strategies to minimize the grievances being faced by Goods Transporters who should be provided a level playing field and practical steps have to be taken to create a win-win situation for everyone.
Former Senior Vice President KCCI Jawed Bilwani, in his remarks, stated that many issues being faced by transporters can be easily resolved within minutes but these were pending since many years. “The communication ministry will have to resolve all these issues on priority basis”, he stressed. He said that no heavy vehicle is allowed to move in any part of the city including ports and industrial units from 6:00AM to 11:00PM which happens nowhere around the world as motorways and highways are constructed within the city limits to facilitate the exports. “How could we improve our exports when our export consignments cannot move round the clock”, he asked.
Referring to long queues at the entry points of Lyari Expressway, he suggested to introduce e-ticketing facility as long queues of up to more than a kilometer were usually observed every day during rush hours, creating a lot of problems for commuters. Jawed Bilwani further suggested broadening the Jinnah Bridge which would help in dealing with severe traffic jams and ensure smooth flow of traffic. “Lyari Expressway must also be equipped with solar streetlights and e-ticketing facility at the entry and exit points with a view to minimize the grievances of commuters”, he added.