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Cost of Lowari tunnel projects increases to Rs46 billion

ISLAMABAD: A subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee was informed that the cost of Lowari Tunnel projects had increased by 261 per cent skyrocketing its revised cost to Rs46 billion against the initial cost of Rs7 billion estimated in 2003.

The meeting was held Tuesday, with Syed Naveed Qamar in chair, to examine the audit paras related to National Highway Authority (NHA) for 2016-17. It also sought a NAB report on irregularities in the Multan to Sukkur Motorway and set a two-month time frame for it.

During the briefing to the subcommittee, audit officials said the initial cost of the Lowari Tunnel in 2003 was estimated at Rs7.9 billion which increased to Rs26 billion in 2010 and now the revised cost is estimated at Rs46 billion. The audit officials said the NHA will now give approval of the revised PC-1.

Secretary Communication Jawad Rafiq told the subcommittee that initially a railway track was to be first completed before laying roads, but the plan was revised and a decision was taken to construct two lane road first.

Member Public Accounts Committee, Hina Rabbani Khar said the Lowari Tunnel project is of strategic importance as it could link Pakistan with the Central Asian States through Chitral and therefore the project should be seen not from economic point of view but strategically.

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