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ISLAMABAD: The longstanding issue of an access road to the model prison is going to be resolved as the Ministry of Interior has directed the National Highway Authority (NHA) to construct an interchange on Kashmir Highway and link it with the prison.

The NHA, which is executing the Peshawar Mor to Islamabad International Airport metro bus corridor project, will now make a provision for the link road and the interchange.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal recently inaugurated work on the model prison. The federal capital, which has its own police and judicial system, is without a prison and prisoners from Islamabad are kept in the Adiala Jail Rawalpindi.

Interior ministry asks NHA to make provision in Peshawar Mor-Islamabad International Airport metro project for interchange, link road to prison

Spreading over 90 acres in H-16, the Islamabad Model Prison, which is expected to cost Rs3.9 billion, will accommodate around 2,000 prisoners. For over a year, the CDA had been requesting the NHA to make a provision in the metro project for a link road and an interchange on Kashmir Highway.

The interior ministry had constituted a committee to resolve the issue. According to minutes of a meeting of the committee held on April 18 under the chairmanship of the additional secretary-II interior and attended by CDA and NHA officials, the NHA would make a provision for the link road and an interchange for the model prison and intimate the Ministry of Interior by April 30.

The meeting also discussed the issue of a service road for the prison. CDA Member Planning Asad Mehboob Kayani informed the committee that the possession of the plot for the prison was 80 feet towards 17th Avenue, which would affect the road network designated by the CDA.

He told the committee that at the time of starting work on the project the PWD had not confirmed the location of the plot from the CDA. The additional secretary suggested that the prison may be constructed in such a way that if the existing boundary wall needed to be shifted it should not affect the buildings.

“The chairperson directed that the CDA and PWD settle this issue within seven days and submit a report,” read the minutes.

Illegal construction

During the meeting, the director finance ICT said 35 houses had been illegally constructed near the prison. The additional secretary suggested that the CDA should acquire that land too. But the member estate said the land for the jail had been provided at a subsidised rate so the approval of the prime minister was required to acquire the additional land.

The chairperson directed the CDA to prepare a summary for the approval of the prime minister and forwarded it to the ministry.

The CDA officials said so far only four drawings had been submitted by the PWD while designs of the remaining 29 components of the prison were yet to be furnished.

The chairperson directed that by April 30 all design drawings should be submitted by the PWD and the CDA should finalise a decision on them in 15 days.

The project was conceived in 2011 on the direction of the then chief justice of Pakistan. At the outset, the ICT administration paid Rs720 million to the CDA as the land acquisition charges and the formal allotment letter was issued in 2013.

The PC-I was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) in 2016. The estimated cost of the project was Rs3,928.523 million.

According to CDA’s Director Building Control Faisal Naeem, the cost of the land amounting to Rs490.050 million was yet to be paid by the ICT administration due to which the civic agency was facing issues in approving the design of the project.

When contacted, Member Planning Asad Mehboob Kayani confirmed that the NHA would make a provision for the link road and an interchange for the prison. “This is a positive development as we were concerned about the access road for the jail,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2018