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LAHORE: Work on the Rs8 billion Lahore Ring Road’s Southern Loop-3 (SL-3) is likely to be delayed as the government has failed to resolve the issue of demolition of over 70 houses in a housing project to make way for the road.

After the inauguration of the southern loop-1 and 2 on Dec 22, the Lahore Ring Road Authority had planned to launch work on litigation-free portions of the SL-3 from January or February.

The SL-3 starts from Adda Plot (Raiwind Road) and ends at Maraka. The land acquired for the SL-3 has been transferred to the provincial government and the contractor issued the letter of intent on Feb 6 for the engineering, procurement, construction, finance, operation and maintenance on build, operate and transfer basis. The letter of intent to sign a concession agreement is valid till April 6.

An insider says first the housing project had agreed to hand over the land of 70 houses to the authority but later it used delaying tactics, such as compensation, demolition issues. The provincial government reportedly asked the officials not to annoy the owners of the project.

He said ongoing investigation into various government projects by the National Accountability Bureau also impacted government’s plan to launch work on the SL-3.

He said the court had accepted the government’s stance on the land acquisition as the authority had deposited compensation amount in treasury. Later the housing project’s administration challenged the decision and got a stay order. The government may reach an out-of-court solution of the issue.

He said the government had also approved 2.2 equity—the money that would be returned by the contractor within first 10 years after the construction of the SL-3.

“Though the authority is ready to get the work started, but it awaits the green signal both from the government as well as the housing project admin,” the official concluded.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2018