• Land falls in alignment of under-construction Margalla Road, C-14, C-15 sectors
• Civic body’s board gives go-ahead to expressway widening project, approves new metro bus routes

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) Board on Saturday approved a proposal of swapping 327 acres between the civic agency and Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) in the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) Area.

A board member told Dawn that 327 acres of the national park area fell in alignment of the under-construction Margalla Road and partially in CDA’s C-14 and C-15 sectors.

The member said the alignment of road sectors were part of Islamabad’s master plan developed in the 1960s.

In 1980, the federal government of the time declared a separate MHNP area, which included some land of the planned road and the two sectors.

The officer said in order to remove the lacuna and avoid road realignment, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed and IWMB officers on Wednesday held a detailed meeting and it was decided that the road and sector area which fell in the limits of the MHNP’s reserve forest compartments 31 and 33 and a piece of land towards its south would be utilised by the CDA and this land would be de-notified from the MHNP.

In lieu of this, the equivalent land including area of Margazhar Zoo and CDA’s acquired land towards north of sector D-12 situated in Pind Sangrial and Pind Siri Saral would be included in the MHNP.

The outcome of CDA chief’s meeting with the IWMB chairperson and officials and a proposal of swapping 327 acres were presented before the board, which approved it. Now, the civic body will move a case to the federal government for issuing a notification of including and excluding areas from the MHNP.

The board also approved the widening of Islamabad Expressway from PWD to G.T. Road by utilising the service of a government contractor under 42(f) rule of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA). Under the rule, government-owned organisations are allowed to directly contract other state entities. Besides the expressway project, the board also gave a go-ahead to the CDA to get two more projects executed under 42(f).

Meanwhile, CDA spokesperson Syed Asif Raza said during the board meeting, it was observed that individual interventions would not be fruitful unless a full-fledged project was taken up and completed in one go.

“Now that the current fiscal year is ending and the CDA budget has already posted a surplus, the civic body’s chairman has approved this long due project, which would also include a route for blue line metro bus service,” he said.

Though there are several government-owned construction firms, the Frontier Work Organisation (FWO) and National Logistic Cell (NLC) are the main contenders for the expressway project. These two companies are already executing a numbers of CDA projects.

The spokesperson said the board also approved blue and green line metro bus routes.

He said the CDA was giving a comprehensive traffic solution from Koral to Pims under the blue line metro bus service and from Bhara Kahu to Pims through the green line.

“The bus routes will be linked with each other so that a person who boards from Bhara Kahu can either commute all the way to Rawalpindi or travel to the airport. This initiative will make Islamabad the first city in Pakistan to offer multiple connectivity, linking the four corners of the city,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2022

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