RAWALPINDI: The bidding process of Ring Road project was called off on Monday.

“Now the bidding process for the project will be held from start after the completion of the inquiry into the matter,” said a senior official of the divisional administration.

After launch of inquiry into alleged changes in Ring Road project, Deputy Project Director Mohammad Abdullah resigned from the post and submitted it to Commissioner Syed Gulzar Hussain Shah.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of the alleged changes in the re-alignment of the Rawalpindi Ring Road project, which allegedly not only increased the cost of the project by Rs25 billion but also benefited some private housing societies.

Earlier, Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) suspended Land Acquisition Collector Waseem Tabish and all the record of land acquisition had also been sealed to avoid any changes in it.

Sources told Dawn that the allegations of change of alignment of Ring Road project had no substance as the project with new alignment was approved on Feb 19 in Lahore under the chairmanship of Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Dr Salman Shah under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

They said under the approved project, the total length of the six-lane Ring Road was 66.3 kilometer from Radio Pakistan at Rawat to Halqa Interchange at Motorway was 51 kilometer while the revenue in form of toll tax will be collected by the investors and the additional route from Motorway to Sangjani will be collected by National Highway Authority (NHA).

They said that under the approved project, total cost of the project was Rs56 billion including Rs40 billion share of private investors and Rs16 billion will be borne by Punjab government.

However, they said that earlier, the project proposal was made in 2017 which had total cost was Rs57 billion including Rs37 billion from private sector while Rs20 billion from the provincial government.

They said the project was then not approved by Rawalpindi Development Authority and Planning and development department as well as Provincial Development Working Party.

They said that after the approval of the project, the land acquisition was started and so far 61pc of total land had been acquired.

They said that 1385.7 acres of land was to be acquired and so far 2275 acres had been obtained at the cost of Rs5 billion in the name of Punjab government.

They said that as many as nine housing societies donated 246.7 kanals to Punjab government for the project free of cost while they were agreed to spend Rs5 billion on construction of five interchanges.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2021

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