US sets terms for $90m road grant to Islamabad

January 26, 2014 - 5:08:59 am
PAKISTAn: The United States has linked its $90m assistance for resuming work on the Kalat-Quetta-Chaman section of highway with the award of contract to the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and hiring of a reputed international firm to monitor construction, sources say.

Work on the project had screeched to a halt way back in 2010 after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) closed its loan programme in the wake of poor law and order situation in Balochistan.

Now, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has come up with a demand that the road construction contract should be awarded to the FWO and an international company be appointed for project monitoring.

According to sources, improvement of the 247 kilometre Kalat-Quetta-Chaman section of the National Highway (N-25), which originates from Karachi and ends in Chaman, was taken up in 2006 with ADB assistance.

Prior to the start of work, the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) had given its approval in January 2004 with a cost of Rs6.6bn.

However, poor law and order situation hampered construction activity and only a part of the highway could be completed. With the closure of Asian Development Bank’s assistance programme, the activity came to a stop.