KARACHI, Nov 1: The army is mounting pressure on the city government to open the National Stadium and Hassan Square flyovers and their adjoining roads for vehicular traffic at least a week before the commencement of the 4th International Defence Exhibition & Seminar (Ideas-2006).
Pakistan's mega defence show, Ideas 2006 Arms for Peace, is all set to begin on Nov 21 at the Expo Centre, situated yards away from the sites of the Hassan Square and National Stadium flyovers.
Foreign delegations from more than 74 countries will attend the seminar to be held on Nov 20 and the defence exhibition, which will be inaugurated by President Gen Pervez Musharraf.
Keeping in view the security concerns not only for the president but also for the foreign defence delegates and transportation of the defence equipment Pakistan has developed indigenously or with international collaboration, the army authorities have asked the city government to ensure the completion of the development work at the two flyovers by the middle of this month, the sources added.
They said that a brigadier was monitoring the pace of development work and was continuously in touch with the authorities of the city government. Initially, the CDGK authorities informed the army that the work to build the two flyovers would be completed much before the commencement of Ideas-2006 but later the army realised that the completion of the two projects till Nov 20 was nearly impossible.
However, in an attempt to make it possible, the sources said, the army started pressing the city government to expedite the development work and open the two flyovers and the adjoining roads for the exhibition-specific traffic. "They (army) want us to open the adjoining roads and at least the National Stadium flyover a week before the inauguration of the Ideas-2006 for select traffic,” said a senior city government official.
Besides, he said, the army also wanted the city government to repair and carpet the Karsaz Road before the exhibition, as it would be one of the probable routes of President Pervez Musharraf.
He said the army made it clear that the whole area, near the Expo Centre, would be declared as high-security zone for about a week and during this period they would not allow any labourer to carryout development work.
He said: “We can open the National Stadium flyover as about 90 per cent of the work has been done while the city government is in the process of carpeting roads around the flyover to ensure smooth flow of traffic”. However, he conceded that the opening of the Hassan Square flyover before the Ideas-2006 exhibition would be a difficult task.
City Nazim Mustafa Kamal told this reporter that the flyover on Stadium Road would be opened for vehicular traffic before the opening of Ideas-2006. “The city government has realised its responsibility and it is not due to pressure from any quarter that we are opening the flyovers,” he said.
The nazim said he hoped that the development projects, including construction of flyovers and underpasses, would definitely leave a positive impression on the foreign delegates visiting the defence exhibition, as they would see a major difference from what they witnessed last year.
The city government had launched six projects – three underpasses on Ibne Sina Road and three flyovers on Hassan Square, Stadium and Karsaz – for making a signal-free corridor from SITE to the airport, which would benefit motorists and commuters in terms of reducing their travel time. However, all of the projects missed their deadline due to various reasons.
Work to construct the National Stadium flyover was started on April 27 with an estimated cost of Rs671 million. The Hassan Square flyover project, launched on May 2, will cost Rs490 million.