RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) is expected to start work on Kutchery Chowk remodeling project next month, but the Leh Expressway and Flood Channel projects may see delay.

While inaugurating the Ring Road project, Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked the RDA to expedite work on Leh Expressway and Flood Channel projects on the request of Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

Talking to Dawn, a senior RDA official said Nespak, the consultant of the Kutchery Chowk remodeling project, would soon finalise the technical design of the project.

He said the provincial government had already approved the project which would cost Rs4.879 billion. Out of the total amount, Rs3.994bn would be spent on construction and Rs135 million on shifting utility services, including telephone, gas and electricity.

Nespak to finalise project’s technical design; Leh Expressway and Flood Channel projects may face delay

He said Rs5 million had been allocated for traffic maintenance and other works and Rs387m for land acquisition in the limits of the cantonment areas.

Under the RDA plan, the main square will be made signal free and will have a two-storey flyover.

As per data, more than 300,000 vehicles pass through this busy road daily, with the intersection remaining busy with traffic from morning till late at night.

About Leh Expressway and Flood Channel project, the official said a lot of work had to be done, adding that as per the earlier plan, the provincial government wanted to start Urban Regeneration project in the area along Leh Nullah.

He said the provincial government wanted to develop economic zones along Leh Nullah and in this regard, the authority would launch the project’s feasibility study.

The RDA official said the basic aim of the Urban Regeneration project was to improve the outlook of congested roads, streets of the city and make Rawalpindi a model city.

He said under the project, the RDA would invite investors to construct commercial buildings and develop the area with the help of locals.

On the other hand, according to the approved plan, the entire cost of land acquisition for Leh Expressway and Flood Channel would be borne by the Punjab government.

An amount of Rs16.09bn has been allocated for land acquisition, Rs6bn for relocation of houses, commercial structure and other miscellaneous infrastructure, Rs144 million to compensate for employment loss, Rs2.5bn for relocation of utility services, Rs20m for monitoring and evaluation, Rs6.7m for administrative cost and Rs200m for contingencies.

When contacted, RDA spokesman Hafiz Irfan said the civic authority was working on all projects under the Annual Development Programme.

The spokesman said work on the Leh Expressway and Flood Channel projects would be expedited as per the directives of the government.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2022

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