RAWALPINDI: In the wake of the Rawalpindi Ring Road Project scam, the districts of Rawalpindi and Attock have been without deputy commissioners as the Punjab government has failed to make appointments on the two posts along with four others that fell vacant after removal of the officers.
After the scam, the government removed Rawalpindi deputy commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq, who refused to accept the content of a fact-finding committee’s report on the scam.
Though Mr Haq was a member of the fact-finding committee led by Commissioner Syed Gulzar Hussain Shah, he refused to endorse the report against former commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood.
The second member of the fact-finding committee, Additional Commissioner Coordination Jahangir Ahmed, also wrote a dissenting note on the report.
Six officers, including two DCs, were removed in connection with Ring Road Project scam
Chakwal Deputy Commissioner Bilal Hashim was given the additional charge of the Rawalpindi district.
“Rawalpindi district is divisional headquarters and an important district. There is a dire need to appoint a permanent DC as the local bureaucracy has lost morale after the charge was given to a deputy commissioner of another district,” said a senior official.
Besides the DC Rawalpindi, deputy commissioner Attock Ali Annan Qamar, additional deputy commissioner (revenue) retired Capt Shoaib Ali, assistant commissioner Saddar Ghulam Abbas and Fatehjang assistant commissioner Mohammad Azeem Shaukat Awan were also removed from their posts.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Revenue Attock Sheheryar Arif Khan was entrusted with the additional charge of the Attock DC.
Sources told Dawn that former deputy commissioner Anwarul Haq in his report had demanded establishment of an inquiry committee comprising technicians and experts to probe the extension of the Ring Road route from the motorway to Sangjani and alleged kickbacks from housing societies.
In his dissenting note, the former deputy commissioner suggested to the Punjab government that in order to determine the suitability of the 2017 and the 2021 alignment of the Ring Road, a detailed analysis of the changes made in the original design should be carried out by a committee of experts in relevant fields.
Sources said the alleged alignment was properly approved by the Project Review Committee (PRC) and the monitoring board headed by Dr Salman Shah, adviser to the chief minister on economic affairs, in its 7th and 8th meetings held on Aug 20 and Aug 22, 2020.
It held that the project needed to cater to the development needs of the city for the next 20 years besides creating economic activities.
Therefore, the previous alignment could be termed a partial bypass as it started from one point on a road and connected to another road. A true bypass connects two points at the same road diverting traffic from the busier section.
They said it neither fully addressed the decongestion problem nor development needs. The advertised alignment was a product of long deliberations involving various stakeholders. The plans for the present alignment were approved by Project Review Committee on Feb 27, 2021, the sources claimed.
They said Nespak too had endorsed the alignment in 2021 with a few amendments that were taken into consideration.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2021