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LAHORE: Besides the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project, Lahore’s other mega projects continue to be delayed due to the shortage of funds for the last three months.

These projects include a flyover at Shaukat Khanum intersection (Johar Town), rehabilitation and improvement of Khayaban-i-Jinnah (signal-free corridor) and construction of 12 sports complex in various National Assembly constituencies of the provincial capital.

The construction of the Rs1.6 billion Shaukat Khanum intersection overhead bridge started slowing down in May — the last month of the ShahbazSharif government- owing to the want of funds. The work on the project, launched in December last, was to be completed by June 15. The contractor slowed down the work after the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) failed to clear the payments. Later, the deadline was revised and set as August 25 which is likely to be missed as 20 percent of the work has yet to be done.

“Actually, the project faced delay due to non release of funds by the interim government, which didn’t pass development budget in its annual budget for the fiscal year 2018-19,” an official source said. He said though the contracted firm tried hard to get its dues cleared, but to no avail. Finally, it stopped the work.

The flyover is a part of the rehabilitation and improvement of Khayaban-i-Jinnah (signal-free corridor) project. Under the plan, the work was to be accomplished by Aug 25 at Rs465 million after the revised budget for this project’s portion was approved in a meeting of the LDA’s governing body last year.

“Khayaban-i-Jinnah is the major structural plan road of southern part of Lahore connecting southern bypass with Raiwind Road which facilitates the heavy flow of traffic from the congested localities like Johar Town, Wapda Town, OPF; PIA Society etc. Due to an intense increase in the traffic volume, Khayaban-e-Jinnah is in very dilapidated condition. Patchwork was carried out a number of times but the condition of road needed major improvement. So, the LDA prepared PC-I for the rehabilitation of the road which mainly included the re-structuring of left carriageway (Raiwind Road bound) from Sub Grade level while on right carriageway only ancillary works were proposed,” reads a working paper approved by the governing body.

The paper says the Shaukat Khanum Hospital Intersection connecting Khayaban-i-Jinnah, Khayaban-i-Firdousi and Southern By-pass remains chocked due to long vehicular queues and traffic jams. Redressing the same, the Punjab government through the LDA started the construction of the flyover at Shaukat Khanum intersection and to make it signal free junction.

“M/s Nespak has recommended two protected U-turns along southern bypass which will also ease out the traffic flow along Khayaban–i-Jinnah and Khayaban–i-Firdousi as well. Moreover, storm water drainage is the key factor to enhance the road life and in view to address the issue of present storm water drainage condition of Khayaban-i-Jinnah, RCC drain and rider sewer is proposed by M/s Nespak along right carriageway,” the paper goes on.

According to official source, the work on the construction of 12 sports complex in 12 NA constituencies has also been dead slow since May.

“Up to 60 percent of the work (on an average) has already been completed. After May, contractors stopped work due to the non-payment of bills,” he added. He said since Prime Minister Imran Khan was also a sportsman, he must instruct the Punjab chief minister to ensure provision of funds for early completion of 12 sports complexes. Side by side, the prime minister should also instruct the provincial government to complete all ongoing project in Lahore and other districts within a short span of time.

LDA Chief Engineer Mazhar Hussain Khan told Dawn funds would be issued in a day or two.

“LDA’s development budget would be approved in a day or two enabling us to complete the remaining work on the Shaukat Khanum Flyover in 20 days or so after receipt of the funds,” he added. He said the work on other projects would also be completed soon.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2018