Karachi: President Asif Ali Zardari today directed to expedite off-loading and transportation mechanism of the imported urea which is currently clogged up at Gwadar port so that the issue of fertilizer availability in far flung areas of the country could be resolved and the rising price could be brought under control besides saving the imported stock from the impact of extreme weather.
He also directed National Fertilizer Marketing Ltd (NFML) to speed up the process of transportation and distribution while ensuring transparency in the distribution mechanism.
This he said during a briefing held at Bilawal House today on current situation with respect to urea and price of rice, when it was informed that so far 7,00,000 tons of imported urea has arrived at Gawadar port and 480000 tons has been off-loaded. The President observed that all efforts should be undertaken to resolve operational limitations as any adverse change in weather was likely to cause damage to the imported fertilizer lying at the Port.
It was also informed that Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has offered their support to NFML for the transportation of 0.2 MT urea to up-country destination at the rates and other formalities fixed by NFML.
The President was also briefed about province-wise share, distribution and the quantity of urea fertilizer that has been distributed so far among various parts of the country.
In the later part of the briefing, it was informed that according to Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) at present roughly 5,00,000 metric tons of Irri-6 rice was available in the market with a price of about Rs. 29000 PMT.
It was informed that TCP at present was not involved in local procurement, price mechanism or export of rice and would only intervene if required by the Government.
Spokesperson Mr. Farhatullah Babar said that in another meeting that followed this briefing, President Asif Ali Zardari reviewed situation with regards to communication network that was destroyed or partially damaged as a result of July 2010 high floods.
Mr. Babar said that it was informed that as a result of huge floods, extensive damage was caused to NHA network throughout Pakistan that included damages to roads, bridges, culverts, retaining walls and causeways etc.
It was informed that approximately 800 km of national highway network was either completely or partially damaged which is 6.6% of the total 12131 Km of NHA network. It was informed that 46 bridges were also damaged as a result of 2010 floods.
Chairman NHA while briefing the President informed that NHA has completed Damage Need Assessment (DNA) and has provided details to the donors i.e. Asian Development Bank which is the lead agency for communication/transport sector.
It was informed that the cost of damages was assessed to be Rs. 18.38 billion while the cost for restoration was Rs. 22.41 billion without cost of social and environment impact safeguards, land cost, design and escalation etc.
It was informed that Chinese consultants have started design surveys and the design of South Section would be completed by January 2012. The construction work would commence in March 2012, it was told. The design of North section would be completed by February and by first week of March this year construction work would commence.
The President directed NHA to facilitate Chinese consultants and contractors working on these projects and also to ensure their security and provide them with historical data.
Representatives of Chinese consultants and contractors were also present during the meeting.
Those who were present during today’s meetings included among others Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, provincial ministers, federal secretaries, Chairman NHA and Chairman TCP besides other senior officials.
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Haji Ahmed Malik
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