RAWALPINDI, March 9: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif opens the Rs1.216 billion Chandni Chowk Flyover to traffic on Saturday, a promise kept but in disregard of the objections by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that its height could interfere with the air traffic at the nearby Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
It may have been built “in record time”, but certainly without obtaining the mandatory 'No Objection Certificate' from the CAA - as was the Institute of Cardiology on Rawal Road just a short distance from the end of the runway of the airport. Law does not allow tall buildings and structures within 200 metres of airport limits.
The CAA had asked the provincial government to reduce the height of flyover from 6 meter to 5 meter but Lahore did not pay any heed to its requests and moved ahead with the project.
The flyover is just two-kilometre from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport runway and its height and lampposts will create problems for air traffic in future.
The CAA officials said the Punjab government also constructed Institute of Cardiology on Rawal Road without getting approval from the CAA in violation of the law as the height of the building was above 60 feet.
The CDGR officials engaged in the project requesting not to be named said that the total height of the flyover was 5.5 meters and after the movement of heavy traffic at the road and establishment of lampposts it will go above six meters.
They said that apart from the objections, the project cost also escalated as the owners of two petrol filling stations and BBH demanded Rs70 million and Rs40 million as a compensation for using their land for the construction of service road along flyover and for rehabilitation of sewerage lines.
Rana Basharat, Project Director Chandni Chowk Flyover, insisted that the height of the flyover was within the limit as described by the CAA and it would pose no hazard to air traffic,” he said.
When asked the CAA asked the administration to reduce the height to five metre, he said that addition of two or three metres in height would not create problem to the CAA. However, he admitted that the CAA had not given NoC for the project.
When contacted, Acting Commissioner Saqib Zafar said that the administration was negotiating matters with CAA officials. He said that the issue was pending with Defence Secretary. “You can say the issuance of NoC is in process,” he said.
He said that the CDGR officials had already informed the CAA authorities that the height of the flyover was not more than the adjacent buildings in the area. He said that the private buildings constructed in the area were much higher than the flyover.
Benazir Bhutto International Airport Manager Asghar Faheem Khattak said that the CAA had made objection to the flyover. However, he was not aware of the reaction of the higher authorities as the matter was pending with ministry of defence.