ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is likely to miss another deadline to complete the dualisation of Ataturk Avenue.

Under the revised deadline, the project was supposed to be ready before July 30 this year but sources said around 40 per cent work was yet to be completed.“I don’t think we will complete the work within the revised deadline, which is July 30,” said an official who requested not be named.

The civic agency has been attributing the slow pace of work to its ongoing issue with Iesco over shifting of electricity cables.

Both the CDA and Iesco have gone to court on the removal of cables.

The civic agency claims that Iesco should remove the cables from the site free of cost as it had laid them decades ago without getting permission from the CDA.

But Iesco is of the view that the CDA would have to bear the expenses.

A local court a few months ago decided the matter in favour of the CDA but the sessions court overruled it.

Later, the CDA filed an appeal in Islamabad High Court (IHC).

“The IHC gave a chance to both the parties to decide the matter through negotiations. We held talks with Iesco but to no avail. Now we are waiting for the next hearing of the case to plead that Iesco should be directed to remove the cables,” said CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali.

An Iesco spokesman had earlier told Dawn that it was the responsibility of the CDA to pay for removal of the cables.The dualisation of Ataturk Avenue, also known as Embassy Road, was started in 2017 but work remained suspended for around a year after objections raised by the Environment Protection Agency following chopping of over 100 trees by the CDA.

When the environment agency gave the go-ahead to the CDA early last year, the civic agency was supposed to complete the project by November but it ran into the dispute with Iesco.

An engineer of the CDA said almost all structure work had been completed.

“Once our issue is settled with Iesco, we can complete the project in two to three months,” he said.

A few months ago, he added, after an objection from the Ministry of Climate Change the CDA decided to dualise Ataturk Avenue only up to Jinnah Avenue instead of all the way to Ayub Chowk on Aga Khan Road.

He said as per the original plan for dualisation of the 1.7 km road from Serena Hotel to Ayub Chowk, the project was to cost Rs230 million. But if the work is curtailed up to D-Chowk, the cost of the project will reduce to Rs140 million.

He said the civic agency on the direction of the climate change ministry had decided to execute the project up to D-Chowk.

“Still we are trying to convince the ministry to give us the go-ahead to dualise the road up to Ayub Chowk as only 45 more trees will be cut down,” said the engineer.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2019