NHA has asked residents, businesses on both sides of highway to vacate properties
KARACHI: The Super Highway Stakeholders Committee and those affected by the proposed M-9 Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway Project have announced a blockade of Super Highway from today (Sunday morning) for an indefinite period.
The National Highway Authority (NHA) has asked the residents and businesses on both sides of the highway to vacate their residential and commercial properties.
Earlier in March, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had hoped during the ground-breaking ceremony of M-9 project that by building a state-of-the-art roads network between Karachi and Lahore, the hearts of the people living across the country will come closer. However, the project has hit a major bump with the recent development.
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Addressing a press conference on Saturday, the All Pakistan Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Association, Sindh Zone, chairperson Shabbir H Sulemanjee, who is a member of the Super Highway Stakeholders Committee, said that petrol pumps, CNG stations and other facilities will have to be destroyed for the construction of the M-9 project. He said that after Toll Plaza, 500 metres of Super Highway was a residential as well as commercial area and 220 feet from the right and 450 feet from the left side, from Karachi to Hyderabad, have been acquired for the project. “There are hundreds of hotels, CNG pumps and the graveyard of the area, which have to be vacated for this project,” he pointed out.
“Imagine if you put a fence on Sharae Faisal, what would happen to the businesses on both sides of the road,” he said.
He demanded that a fence-free expressway should be constructed and Toll Plaza be moved after Kathore. The Islamabad-Lahore Motorway had also once been proposed on Main GT Road but when the concerns of the already established businesses were taken into consideration, the motorway was eventually constructed on barren land. “From Hyderabad to Lahore, the NHA has planned to construct the motorway on a completely new alignment by acquiring barren land without disturbing the existing National Highway Road from Hyderabad to Khairpur,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2015.