ISLAMABAD: The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) on Tuesday cleared a total of six development projects worth Rs61.24 billion, including three major road and transport projects for the Rawalpindi region.
A meeting of the CDWP presided over by Planning Commission’s Deputy Chairman Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan formally approved three development projects with a total estimated cost of Rs600 million and recommended three projects worth Rs60.64bn to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for approval.
Under the current financial powers, the CDWP can itself approve projects costing no more than Rs10bn, whereas the projects of higher estimated costs are approved by Ecnec once the CDWP clears them on technical grounds.
Three smaller projects approved by the CDWP relate to the industries and commerce sector and would be located in Balochistan’s border areas. These included the establishment of joint border markets at Gabd district in Gwadar (at a cost of Rs226.585m), at Mand district in Keh (Rs183.9m), and at Ghedhi district in Panjgur (Rs184.5m).
The project – aimed at constructing markets along the Pakistan-Iran border – is based on a memorandum of understanding signed between the governments of the two countries to establish six markets. Three marketplaces will be set up in the first phase.
The project intends to promote trade between local people to support their livelihood.
Mr Jehanzeb asked the agencies concerned to improve the enabling environment for trade on border areas, especially for regional trade. The focus must be on government’s coordination, trade promotion infrastructure, automation of government-to-business interaction in order to reduce cost and increase transparency and implementation support.
The meeting recommended three larger projects in the transport and communications sector to Ecnec for approval at an estimated cost of Rs60.64bn.
The first project included the construction of Rawalpindi Ring Road-R3 main carriageway from Baanth (N-5) to Thalian (M-2) worth Rs23.606bn. The sponsoring agency of this controversial project is the government of Punjab and its executing agency is the Rawalpindi Development Authority.
Out of the total PC-I cost, the federal government would contribute Rs15.165bn while the provincial government will pitch in Rs8.441bn. The project envisages the construction of the six-lane access-controlled Rawalpindi Ring Road measuring 38.3 kilometres.
The scope of work also includes the construction of grade-separated five interchanges, two bridges, a flyover and two subways besides an intelligent transportation system, fence on both sides of the right of way (ROW), toll plazas and weighbridges.
The second project — concerning the land acquisition for Lai expressway and flood channel in Rawalpindi — is worth Rs24.960bn and pushed by Interior Minister Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed.
The project envisages acquisition of 750 kanals of land to provide ROW for the construction of Lai Nullah Expressway and Flood Channel Project. The whole Nullah Lai project spans over 16.5km, i.e. from Katarian Bridge to Soan River near the high court and would constitute an integral part of the transportation network of Rawalpindi besides flood mitigation and sewage disposal.
The scope and cost also include compensation to be provided to the built-up properties and charges for shifting and idle time compensation.
Another project relating to the feasibility study and construction of 10th Avenue from IJP Road to Srinagar Highway, Islamabad, is worth Rs12.08bn. As per the master plan, 10th Avenue is a part of the Islamabad road network.
The project seeks to provide better traffic facilities and savings in travel time and vehicle operating costs, avoid inconvenience to the general public, avoid security hazards, and reduce the risk of accidents. Ultimately, the project aims to help reduce air and noise pollution through reduced traffic congestions.
The road will also provide a link to the railway dry port, the industrial area of Islamabad, and to the Islamabad International Airport through the Srinagar Highway. It is also envisaged that traffic from N-5 through the Margalla road will also use this road to reach the middle of the twin cities and industrial area which will be the nearest approach.
Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2021