RAWALPINDI: Finally, the ring road project is going to become a reality as the Punjab government on Friday hired a private firm as consultant to conduct feasibility study and submit PC-1 of the project in six months.

Commissioner retired Capt Saqib Zafar told Dawn that a joint consortium of Zeeruk (Pvt) Limited and Engineering General Consultant (Pvt) Limited would start work from today (Saturday).

The consortium has been selected from six private firms who had submitted their expressions of interest (EoIs).

Govt hires consultant for carrying out feasibility study in six months

The Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) had invited EoIs in May and as many as 26 private companies had submitted their EoIs. The RDA shortlisted six companies--M/s Usmani and Company, M/s Nespak, M/s Associated Consultancy Centre, M/s MPP Pakistan Private Limited, M/s Zeeruk Pvt Limited and M/s Engineering General Consultant (EGC) Pvt limited -- and asked them to submit their financial proposals.

The commissioner said the Punjab government had allocated Rs10 million for the feasibility study.

The commissioner said the provincial government had completed negotiations with Chinese Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for loan for the project.

He said the ring road would ultimately ease traffic congestion on city roads and increase trade activities in the Potohar region.

He said the government would procure land and the infrastructure would be constructed from the loan. He said that the government had already allocated Rs4 billion for the land acquisition.

“The consultant will give the real picture of the benefits of the road project for the people,” he said.

He said the consultant would make PC-I and suggest how to end the disadvantages of the project. He said basically the project would end the traffic congestion in the city areas.

The commissioner said besides the Ring Road Project, Leh Expressway Project was also on the agenda of the Punjab government.

He said consultant for Leh Expressway would be hired within next few days.

The commissioner said the 48.5-km-long ring road would start from Chani Sher Alam near Rawat and end at Thalian near Motorway. Basically, goods transport will use the road, bypassing thickly populated areas of the city and the cantonment.

Mr Zafar said this would be an opportunity for the administration to shift the grain market, bus terminals, business centres and establish educational city and medical city along the new artery.

He said that it was an opportunity to make planning for the city as earlier development used to be made by default but now it would be done by design. He said new sites for markets, bus terminals and education and health outlets would be developed which would expand the city.

The estimated cost of the project was Rs42 billion.

The project was initiated 30 years ago in the first tenure of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but the work could not be started due to political reasons.

However, the PTI-led government started the work soon after coming into power in the province.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2019