Zardari wants expressway to Zulfikarabad built

KARACHI, Oct 31: President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the Sindh government to use its own resources to construct the Dhandari bridge over the Indus river and finish the 45-kilometre-long expressway connecting Zulfikarabad with the rest of the province.

The president issued this directive on Wednesday when he was briefed at the Governor’s House about the hurdles in the project’s take-off owing to the fading interest of Chinese firms, sources close to the project told Dawn.

The president was briefed by the managing director of the Zulfikarabad Development Authority (ZDA), retired Lieutenant General Iftikhar Hussain Shah, about the problems causing delays in the project, which had received a lot of criticism not only by opposition parties but also by members of Pakistan People’s Party, when it was announced.

The sources said that after the briefing, the president asked the Sindh government to expedite work on preparing feasibility reports about laying down the road network and the construction of the Dhandari bridge with its own resources.

The sources said that the Zulfikarbad project, costing Rs3.7 billion, appeared to be in doldrums when initial work on the construction of the expressway and the Dhandari bridge, by the Chinese firms involved in the project, failed to make headway.

According to the initial programme, the 45-kilometre-long expressway was supposed to be completed within 30 months by a Chinese firm while another Chinese company had to develop a special economic zone in Zulfikarabad city. However, for the past three months, the firms had stopped responding to the ZDA.Source: