RAWALPINDI: Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) plans to send back Rs7 billion, that was released for Rawalpindi Ring Road and Kutchery Chowk projects to the Punjab government.

A senior official of Punjab Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering told Dawn that the government was not sure about starting the projects, launched by former prime minister Imran Khan in March. He said that Punjab government issued Rs4 billion for the Ring Road project for the current fiscal year 2021-22 and Rs3 billion for remodelling of Kutchery Chowk, adding, “The work order for the Ring Road project was issued but funds were not utilised during the last two months.”

“Contracts of both projects were awarded to Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) and it is waiting to start work on the Ring Road project,” he added.

On the other hand, a senior official of the divisional administration said there were many issues, a major one being that funds issued for both projects would be lapsed on June 30 at the end of the fiscal year.

He said basically, the provincial government wants to utilise funds in active projects and bring back money from projects that have not yet started, adding that it would be easier for the government to release money for the said projects in the next fiscal year.

He added that if the funds lapsed, it would take three to four months to send back the money for the said project through normal procedure.

But some other officials did not agree with this decision, adding that the provincial government wanted to launch inquiry into Rawalpindi Ring Road Project and start work on the old alignment made by former commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood.

They said basically, the new alignment was short and it would be constructed using funds released through the Annual Development Programme (ADP) while the provincial government will start work through public private partnership (PPP).

The aim of the Ring Road Project is to cater to traffic issues of people of the twin cities through provision of an alternate bypass by connecting Grand Trunk Road (N-5) with Motorway (M-2). The project includes construction of a 38.3 kilometre long road which originates from National Highway (N-5) at Baanth, crosses through Chakbeli Road, Adiyala Road, Chakri Road and terminates at Motorway M-2 at Thallian Interchange.

The total cost of the project is Rs33.7 billion including Rs27 billion for construction and Rs6.7 billion for land acquisition. Civil works for the project include fenced right of way ROW (90m), grade separated interchanges, bridges, underpasses, toll plazas and weigh bridges.

The project will reap maximum social and economic dividends by provision of a fast and efficient route for trade-related traffic and their access to other major cities.

When contacted, RDA spokesman Mohammad Irfan said that the authority was working towards starting work on the project which will likely start in the beginning of the next fiscal year.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2022

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