RAWALPINDI: The Punjab Planning and Development Department has rejected the demand of Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) to increase the Rawalpindi Ring Road project cost from Rs31 billion to Rs44 billion.

RDA had sent the Rs44 billion worth of revised PC-I to the department for approval. However, it increased the cost to Rs38 billion.

A senior official of RDA told Dawn that the planning department approved the revised PC-I and the total cost had escalated from Rs31.3 billion to Rs38.3 billion.

“After the approval, the revised PC-I has been referred to the Central Development Working Party. If the CDWP approves it, it would be cleared from Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec),” he said.

RDA’s demand for escalating cost to Rs44bn turned down, rest area component dropped from project

He said former commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatha, as the project director, had added Rs700 million worth of rest area component to the revised PC-I, but the planning department said there was no need for it as the Ring Road had an interchange after every 10 km.

He said that the cost of construction had escalated and this was admitted by the department which increased the rates. The official said the project cost had been revised due to three main reasons: the addition of resting area in the middle of the 38.3km road, construction a double interchange at Thalian near the motorway and increase of construction material prices.

He said the double interchange meant that motorists would have access to Ring Road from four sides and there would be no rush at the entry and exist points. The project was approved in 2022 and in the last two years the costs of construction material have increased manifold, he added.

“Earlier, the cost of project was Rs31.3 billion and now it will be Rs38.3 billion,” he said. So far over 30 per cent work has been completed and the project is likely to complete on time.

The total length of the Rawalpindi Ring Road is 38.3km. It will have five interchanges at Baanth, Chak Baili Khan, Adiala Road, Chakri Road and Thalian. An industrial zone will also be established along the road.

The road will operate at a design speed of 120km/h with five interchanges and six lane-controlled access routes.

During the PTI government, two routes were planned for the project and later work was started on the main carriageway from Baanth on Grand Trunk Road to Thallian on the motorway. Then prime minister Imran Khan had laid the foundation stone of the road at Thallian in March 2022.

Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) was awarded the contract of the project. However, last year, the PDM government temporarily halted the project and gave the go-ahead after its third-party validation.

A joint venture of Turkish and Pakistani firms selected the route from Baanth to Thallian in the third-party validation. After getting the report, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also laid the foundation stone at Rawat on August 8 a day before the expiry of his PDM government’s tenure.

When contacted, RDA spokesman Mohammad Irfan said the civic agency was working on the project and would complete it on time. He confirmed that the revised PC-I had been approved.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2024

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