ISLAMABAD: Hours after visiting the site of the under-construction Rawal Dam Chowk Interchange, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif informed the National Assembly on Saturday that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had awarded the contract of the project to a blacklisted company.
“I inspected the over Rs1 billion project at 7am. In the contract, it is mentioned that the interchange has to be completed in 24 months but the contractor has run away. In Punjab, I have completed a number of such projects in 72 and 84 days. Here people have been suffering but work remains stopped for the last many months,” he said.
PM Sharif said the company had won the contract of Orange Line Lahore but during the inspection it was revealed that there were flaws in the construction work that could have caused accidents and human casualties.
“I had cancelled the contract and confiscated Rs900 million of the company through the State Bank of Pakistan,” he said while expressing surprise why the contract was awarded to the blacklisted company.
Says interchange was to be completed in 24 months but contractor ran away; FWO to now handle project
Earlier, the prime minister reached Rawal Dam Chowk and inspected work on the under-construction interchange which was launched in July 2020. After a briefing, it was decided that the contract would be awarded to the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) with a direction to start the construction within 72 hours.
The FWO will complete the project without demanding any escalation in the cost in the contract.
The prime minister was briefed by Capital Development Authority (CDA)’s Member Engineering Munawar Shah.
He was informed that the project was delayed as the contractor was around 14pc behind schedule, adding that the project would be handed over to the FWO in 15 days.
The prime minister directed the FWO to start the construction work within 72 hours and complete it by September. It was also decided that the FWO would complete the project at the same amount - Rs1.1 billion - on which it was awarded to the former contractor.
The project includes multiple slip roads and one underpass as well as an overhead bridge and a separate underpass connecting Margalla Town. The project was inaugurated in July 2020.
The project is being constructed at the junction of Murree Road, Club Road and Park Road.
According to CDA officials, once completed the project will provide relief to commuters as traffic congestion on this portion of Murree Road has become a routine.
During the last few years, due to increasing population in adjoining areas of Park Road, traffic congestion has become a problem.
Old villages such as Lakhwal, Kurri, Chatta Bakhtawar, Shahzad Town, Rawal Town and Alipur Farash also saw increase in population that resulted into traffic load on Park Road.
Trial run of metro service begins
On the directions of the prime minister, the trial run of Orange Line Metro Bus Service from Peshawar Mor to Islamabad International Airport began on Saturday.
CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed and officials from the capital administration and related departments inspected the docking, scheduling, loading and unloading of passengers and other operational details.
This trial run will continue on Sunday as well. After the completion of trial, the prime minister will inaugurate the service.
Orange Line, which is a National Highway Authority (NHA) project, will have 30 modern buses which will ply after five minutes during peak hours while eight to 10 minutes during off peak hours. The track is 25.6km long and has seven stations and one platform near the airport.
Initially, the CDA under an arrangement with Punjab Mass Transport Authority has arranged 15 orange-painted buses as the arrival of the purchased buses for this route from China has been delayed due to Covid-19 situation at the port city of Shanghai. However, after the arrival of the buses, 15 will be repatriated to Punjab. It is estimated that 25,000 to 26,000 passengers will commute daily on the route.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2022