Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has inaugurated the first phase of the Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M-9) at Nooriabad this morning. Just after the inaugration of the road, the commuters of the said road discovered that the National Highways Authority (NHA) has increased the toll tax on M-9 Motorway linking Karachi to Hyderabad by an unprecedented overwhelming margin. The toll tax for car category of vehicles, has been increased from Rs 30 to Rs119.
What is even more interesting is that, the Motorway, inaugurated only a few hours ago, is not even a complete piece of construction. It has been reported by all present on the site, that the repaired patch of the Super Highway, now being labeled as the Motorway is neither a new construction, nor is it complete.
The provincial and local authorities have approached the federal government over drivers being charged a huge toll tax on the Super Highway, which, according to them, has only been carpeted and repaired. How could the government charge such exorbitant toll taxes when the road isn’t even a motorway?
As can be seen, the new toll tax rate lists printed and put up by the NHA, as well point to the same: Super Highway has been re-branded as the Motorway.
Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Minister of Transport of Sindh said:
“The road between Karachi and Hyderabad cannot be considered a motorway as it is still the decades-old Super Highway that has undergone repairs,”
The Minister added:
“The users of the highway have been made to pay an exorbitant toll tax as if they are using a proper motorway. The toll tax rates ranging from Rs 80 to 800 are illegal and tantamount to extorting money from the public. The upgraded Super Highway does not look like motorways being built in the upcountry, such Lahore- Multan motorway,”
The M-9 Motorway
The distance between Karachi and Hyderabad is not that considerably long though. However, the state of the roads connecting the two cities adds hours to normal commute times, meanwhile, posing serious safety risks to travelers and vehicles.
Construction of M-9 motorway, which cost Rs 36 billion, began in 2015 at the direction PM Sharif. The M-9 Motorway – six-lane wide, 136 km long with four interchanges – will link Karachi and Hyderabad. Underserved areas like Tharparkar, Jimphir, Keenjhar will be connected by these four interchanges: Dadabhai, Industrial Valley, Nooriabad and Thana Bola Khan.
The M-9 motorway project is half completed, according to the NHA. When work recommences on M-9, completing the project is expected to take a year-and-a-half to complete, with hundreds of tax payers suffering daily.