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ISLAMABAD: Five construction firms on Saturday pre-qualified for the construction of elevated route for metro bus service, which will ply between Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The executing body, the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA), scrutinised the documents submitted by around 25 firms, and pre-qualified three joint ventures, FWO/Ikan, MAL/ Calsons and ZKB/Reliable, and NLC and Habib Construction Services.

The firms were asked to submit their tender documents by February 18, and the RDA will finalise the name of the contractor in ten days.

“We will award the contract on February 28,” said retired Capt Zahid Saeed, commissioner Rawalpindi, who is also the project director of the metro bus service.

He said the ten days timeframe was mandatory under the Punjab Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.

Punjab Province has adopted its own PPRA rules in 2009, after getting them approved from its assembly while recently it made certain amendments in the rules, aimed at speeding up development projects.

The PC-1 of the mega project has been approved by the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) on February 4, and under the provisions of Punjab PPRA rules, Nespak has been appointed as the consultant for the project.

The officials said that there had been some confusion over award of consultancy to Nespak“There are provisions in the PPRA rules that the contracts, consultancy, etc., can be awarded on sole source basis to the government firms,” said Sibtain Fazal Aleem, Managing Director, the Punjab Metrobus Authority (PMA).

To ensure the timely completion of the project, the Punjab government has authorised the RDA to execute the work, while the PMA will operate the bus service.

The project director told Dawn that in a bid to save time certain provisions have been initiated by the RDA.

“We have hired a third party to conduct the ‘load pile tests’ at four spots to save around 30 days time of the contractor,” Mr Saeed said adding, “These tests are not being conducted around Sixth Road and Chandni Chowk flyovers because the areas have already undergone the load pile tests around a year back.”

He said that the results of the load pile tests will be utilised by the consultant and the contractor of the project.

The load pile tests are conducted to determine the underground formations to prove that the soil is capable of sustaining the designed load of the infrastructure that could be a bridge or even a high rise building.

The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Service will have elevated infrastructure, with the future provision to convert the bus service to elevated local train service.

The route of the bus service will start from Flashman’s Hotel, Saddar Rawalpindi to Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad.