KARACHI - The competent authorities of Sindh government has instructed the Works and Services Department to conduct survey and rough cost estimation for improving and widening of existing road network from Karachi seaport to Thar coal fields, officials told The Nation. However, Provincial Government will also approach National Highway Authority for upgradation and improvement of Karachi-Thatta road as per their undertaking given at the time of taking over the road from Sindh government for its denationalization. Official sources said that keeping in view the concerns and demand of locals as well as the foreign investors, the Sindh government, in a meeting recently held under the chair of provincial secretary of Works and Services Department, has taken this initiative of bringing improvement and widening of existing road network to facilitate the movement of heavy machinery from Karachi seaport to Thar coal fields. The official source said that it had been imperative to conduct survey and preparation of scheme in detail with rough cost estimation as roads from seaport to Thar coal fields were needed to be repaired to bear the required capacity of load with 16 meter (about 50 feet) clear area. The improvement and widening of three routes is under consideration from seaport to Thar coal fields, official said, adding that Karachi-Thatta-Badin-Wango-Mithi-Thar coalfields route is more suitable as its total distance is about 360 kilometres as compared to second option of Karachi-Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas-Mithi route which is about 430 kilometres where about 5 bypasses would be needed. He said that this route would also link other coal field areas of Thatta and Badin as well. He also informed that existing roads constructed recently have the bearing capacity of 70 tons which is according to international standards and suitable for heavy transport. However, the third option of Hyderabad-Tando Muhammad Khan-Matli-Naukot-Mithi route is also under consideration, but the provincial authorities have directed the Works and Services Department for survey containing full details of existing ongoing and new additional work for construction of road, bypasses and bridges in the way of three routes with existing and revised cost estimates. Meanwhile, the authorities has also asked the Thar Coal Energy Board to get the required details from foreign consultants in this regard and coordinate with the Works and Services Department for preparation of PC-1, rough cost estimates and propose alignment of road with specification, height gradient, load bearing, width and open space requirement for heavy machinery.