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Mega project okayed without money

February 27, 2012


ISLAMABAD, Feb 27: The city managers have approved an over Rs1 billion road project for the federal capital though not a single penny has been allocated for it so far.

The Margalla Avenue project got the go-ahead by the Capital Development Authority's Developmental Working Party (DWP) a couple of days back.

Interestingly, the CDA has even not acquired land for the road despite making efforts for the last many years.

CDA Member Engineering Sanaullah Aman agreed that funds had not been allocated for the scheme.

“We have no funds for the project but it can be commissioned if the required money is generated in the near future by auctioning of plots,” he said.

The official said the project was required to meet future traffic load in the western side of the capital because the city was expanding in that direction. “We will complete the entire spade and technical works till the money is generated,” Mr Aman said.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the CDA said the issue of non-acquisition of land was still confronting the civic body as many pockets falling in the alignment of the highway had so far not been acquired.

He said the authority would have to pay heavy amount as compensation to the landholders.

The revenue record of the local administration showed that influential people have already purchased land in the right of way of the road and in its vicinity in the hope that the project would increase the prices manifold.

Few years back, the CDA had sought funds from the government under Public Sector Development Programme to start work on the Margalla Avenue and Rs200 million were allocated for the project in the federal budget 2009-10. But due to non-utilisation, the funds lapsed. Now the civic agency has decided to execute the project on a self-finance basis.

The road project was shelved by former CDA chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi soon after he assumed charge of the office in 2008 with a view to protect Margalla National Park area from haphazard construction activities.

However, the CDA had made PC-I of the project in 2008 with a spirit to protect the green image of the national park area. “Under the proposed plan, no construction activity would be allowed on the two sides of the road,” an official who did not want to be named told Dawn.

Under the PC-I, the 13-km-long four-lane road would be completed at an estimated cost of Rs1.8 billion.