• Project’s groundbreaking fixed for December end
• Expressway to start from Kattarian Bridge instead of Kashmir Highway as earlier planned
RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has forwarded the PC-I to acquire land for the Leh Expressway and Flood Channel project worth Rs25 billion to the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) for final approval.
The Punjab Planning and Development Board has already approved the project and work on land acquisition will start after the PC-I gets clearance from the CDWP.
A senior official of the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) told Dawn that PC-I for construction of the expressway and its detailed design would be completed by Oct 22 after which it would be sent to the Planning and Development Board for approval.
After sending the PC-I for land acquisition to the CDWP, the provincial government directed that formalities for acquiring land be completed.
“In the absence of a land controller, the deputy commissioner will assign the assistant commissioner revenue with the task to acquire land,” the official said, adding that the government was interested in launching the project as soon as possible.
“The project’s groundbreaking is fixed for December end but there are still so many things to do,” the official added.
“An environmental assessment report has not yet been prepared which is necessary before any development project is launched,” he said, adding that the process would be completed within a month.
The official said public reservations about the project would be entertained, especially from those living along Leh Nullah, adding that the expressway would start from Kattarian Bridge instead of the earlier plan of constructing it from Kashmir Highway to Soan Bridge near the Lahore High Court.
He said the government wanted to construct the expressway on the basis of public-private partnership (PPP) and the RDA would also send the project to the PPP Authority for approval.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Syed Gulzar Hussain Shah said the chief minister had approved two mega projects for Rawalpindi - Leh Nullah Expressway and Ring Road - which would be executed by the RDA.
Speaking at a meeting, the commissioner said work on the projects would be expedited so that the residents get better facilities as soon as possible.
He asked the departments concerned to resolve all issues and remove bottlenecks and obstacles being faced during the designing and implementation of the projects, adding that a project management unit would also be established soon to start work on the urban regeneration project along Leh Nullah.
All development works should be implemented on a fast-track basis, he added.
Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021