ISLAMABAD: The mega 10th Avenue project, which is supposed to be completed by March 2024, is going to miss the deadline as so far only 17pc work has been completed.

“The deadline is approaching fast and we are left with only six months, but there is no progress on the project,” said an engineer of the CDA.

10th Avenue is a federal government-funded project being executed through the CDA. However, work on the project is almost halted for months and only drains etc., are being constructed.

Sources said that in June the federal government had provided Rs1.3 billion to help the CDA get the work accelerated. But, it still goes on at a snail’s pace.

Only 17pc work has been carried out due to lack of funds, says official

The Rs10.2 billion project was started by the PTI government. Initially, the government had earmarked over Rs1 billion, but in the fiscal year 2022-23 only Rs350 million were set aside for it.

The previous PDM government in June this year released Rs1.3 billion for the project and in the fiscal year 2023-24 only Rs400 million were earmarked.

An engineer of CDA said after release of Rs1.3 billion in June, the civic agency paid the contractor’s pending liabilities.

He said obviously funding was one of the major reasons for slow progress on the project, as it was started in March 2022 and was supposed to be completed in March 2024, adding meeting the deadline seemed next to impossible. He, however, said soon work at the site will be expedited.

“Actually, due to the monsoon rain fully-fledged work could not be launched,” he claimed.

Another official said if efforts were not made to complete the project on time, the government could face escalation charges as construction material prices were constantly rising.

“There is a need for serious approach from the federal government. For such a mega project, earmarking Rs400 in the PSDP for 2023-24 is a joke. The government should provide required funds and patronage for early completion of the project for which so far around Rs2.5 billion have been received,” the official said.

In February this year, the National Logistics Cell, which is the in-charge of the construction, had warned the CDA that it would disassociate itself from the project if the civic agency failed to release the required funds. Later, the NLC was assured of smooth flow of funds.

The project has two phases: in the first phase (currently underway), a 5km road is being constructed from Katarian Bridge on IJP Road to Srinagar Highway near the intersection of G-9 and G-10.

In the future, the second phase will be constructed from Srinagar Highway to Margalla Road.

Rimsha Colony, an informal settlement in H-9, will be affected by the project. There are about 1,400 houses and the CDA will have to shift their residents to another place for the construction of the road in the area. But, so far, the CDA has failed to resolve the issue.

It may be noted that in 2022, during the public hearing for the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), it was agreed that a committee, comprising officers of the CDA and representatives of the residents of Rimsha Colony, would be formed to find a solution to the issue. But, so far, no solution has been worked out.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2023

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