RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has started aligning the Rawalpindi Ring Road afresh.
The decision has been made after Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the alleged changes in the alignment of the much-needed Rawalpindi Ring Road project, which not only increased the cost of the project by Rs25 billion but also allegedly benefited some private housing societies.
As the Rawalpindi Ring Road (RRR) project controversy deepens, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari (Zulfi Bukhari) resigned on Monday as Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar said if corruption charges against him proved he would quit politics.
According to senior official of the Punjab government, the RRR case has been referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Anti-Corruption Department (ACD) of Punjab for thorough investigations on the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan after two separate fact-finding reports — one from Rawalpindi commissioner and the other from deputy commissioner and additional commissioner — landed in his office. On the other hand, the provincial government has started the work on new alignment of the road.
On Tuesday, Commissioner Rawalpindi Syed Gulzar Hussain Shah while briefing the Punjab chief secretary said as per the instructions of the Punjab chief minister, work has been started on the alignment of Rawalpindi Ring Road.
He said it was ensured that the new alignment is free from corruption.
The chief secretary directed that alternative proposals along with cost estimates should be submitted to him as soon as possible so that the project could be completed by the same budget.
He dispelled all such rumors which say that the Rawalpindi Ring Road project has been stopped. Furthermore, he added that importance of this project for the residents of Rawalpindi is crystal clear so there is no point of halting it. In fact it has been made corruption free and in the public interest rather than entertaining individual interests.
He directed to submit its PC-1 as early as possible.
These views were expressed while briefing the Punjab chief secretary about Rawalpindi Ring Road in a meeting through video link.
Director Development Nazia Sadhan, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) retired Capt Qasim Ijaz, Azizullah, RDA deputy director and a large number of other government officials concerned were also present during the meeting.
Rawalpindi commissioner further said that in order to improve the economy of the country, special attention is being given to the resources which will not only improve the means of transportation for the residents of twin cities but also increase economic activity.
For this, project of Rawalpindi Ring Road by the Punjab government is of great importance which after its completion will ease the traffic congestion in the twin cities and save the time and money of daily commuters between the two cities.
He said that the Rawalpindi Ring Road project was not merely a solution to traffic problem but it would be the foundation of a new city of Rawalpindi which would benefit all the residents of Rawalpindi city.
Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2021