LAHORE: The Punjab Central Business District Development Authority (PCBDDA) has asked the Punjab government to give its at least two more weeks to complete the Kalma Chowk Remodeling Project on the pretext of undertaking various works related to the underground infrastructure that requires an upgrade.

The government had asked the PCBDDA to complete the project by all means until March 23.

Imran Ameen, PCBDDA chief executive officer, explained the authority’s failure to meet the deadline, by telling Dawn on Thursday that when excavation on Ali Zeb Road (the site of the second underpass/centre point) was carried out, they found major sewer lines broken, making huge slush underground.

“The engineering staff of Wasa also did not know where the lines were passing through,” he claimed.

“They came to know about the pipes’ laying location after our project team-led contractor dug up to 20 feet deep.”

Wasa authorities could not be reached for comment.

Mr Ameen said in such a situation, excavation, concrete work, ceiling work, etc. cannot begin until the new lines are laid.

He said so far, 800-foot-long sewer lines have been laid on both sides of Ali Zeb Road.

“More work in this regard is underway these days,” he said.

The CEO said that under the established principles of engineering, service conduits are always made for the passing of sewer, phone, gas, electricity lines, etc. along both sides of roads and other infrastructure.

“But, in Pakistan, all such departments have their own strategy for this, as they use to lay pipelines, etc., by crossing roads or in their middle It causes issues, weakening the stability of the roads and other infrastructure projects. Had there been service conduits, we wouldn’t have faced such issues,” he deplored.

He said PCBDDA’s ongoing development work worth Rs5 billion includes the construction of two underpasses originating from the existing Kalma Chowk underpass, the remodelling of the Gulberg main boulevard, the upgrade of the underground sewerage/drainage system, the construction of the CBD main boulevard, a parking plaza, walkways, etc.

He claimed that there is no state-owned organization implementing such projects on their own, as they all seek money from the government even though they are earning huge revenues.

He said the PCBDDA succeeded in creating Rs56 billion in revenue and launching the CBD project in Lahore transparently within a short period. In this way, the authority not only decreased the financial burden on the government but also deposited Rs500 million in taxes with the government to date.

“We have been only given Rs100 million as seed money to run the day-to-day affairs of the authority,” he said, adding that the CBD Lahore project would be the country’s first super high-rise infrastructure that will help the government generate and create more revenues and assets. It merits mentioning that the PCBDDA is developing downtown in the heart of the city near Kalma Chowk with the construction of high-rises, including some housing areas in vertical growth.

The authority was formed in February 2021 by the Usman Buzdar government through an ordinance to establish a business district in Gulberg. With an expanded scope of work, the PCBDDA has also started working in various cities such as Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Multan, and Rawalpindi in a bid to boost economic activities for the development of the province. The New Master Plan for Lahore 2050 also envisages a new city centre in Gulberg and contains details of the city’s future growth/expansion, settlement, and plans.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2023

Opinion

The risk of escalation

The risk of escalation

The silence of the US and some other Western countries over the raid on the Iranian consulate has only provided impunity to the Zionist state.

Editorial

Saudi FM’s visit
Updated 17 Apr, 2024

Saudi FM’s visit

The government of Shehbaz Sharif will have to manage a delicate balancing act with Pakistan’s traditional Saudi allies and its Iranian neighbours.
Dharna inquiry
17 Apr, 2024

Dharna inquiry

THE Supreme Court-sanctioned inquiry into the infamous Faizabad dharna of 2017 has turned out to be a damp squib. A...
Future energy
17 Apr, 2024

Future energy

PRIME MINISTER Shehbaz Sharif’s recent directive to the energy sector to curtail Pakistan’s staggering $27bn oil...
Tough talks
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Tough talks

The key to unlocking fresh IMF funds lies in convincing the lender that Pakistan is now ready to undertake real reforms.
Caught unawares
Updated 16 Apr, 2024

Caught unawares

The government must prioritise the upgrading of infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Going off track
16 Apr, 2024

Going off track

LIKE many other state-owned enterprises in the country, Pakistan Railways is unable to deliver, while haemorrhaging...