Underpass project put on hold

RAWALPINDI, Nov 13: Launching of work on the Rs520 million Chur Chowk underpass has been delayed until the next financial year due to shortage of funds.

The Saddar Bazaar

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Sources told Dawn on Sunday that the Punjab government had asked the local authorities to first complete the flyover at Benazir Bhutto Road.
Officials in the city district government on the condition of anonymity said the National Logistic Cell (NLC) had recommended to the Punjab government to build a flyover instead of an underpass at Chur Chowk as its maintenance was easy, though the
cost would be Rs700 million.

The provincial government neither accepted nor rejected the idea and asked the city government to complete the flyover at Benazir Bhutto Road and put on hold the underpass project till the next fiscal year.

The project was prepared on the recommendations of local PML-N leaders otherwise there was no need to construct an underpass at Chur Chowk. The officials said there were differences among the local MNAs and MPAs over development
projects as each one of them wanted uplift funds for his own constituency.

However, MNA Hanif Abbasi from NA-56 managed to get funds from the provincial government and the city district government started work on many projects. On the other hand, MNA Malik Abrar from NA-54 has failed to manage funds on time.

When contacted, Rawalpindi Cantonment Board Executive Officer Rana Manzoor Ahmed Khan said his organisation had nothing to do with the underpass project though the area came under its jurisdiction. He said on the request of the provincial government the RCB had shifted the utility services from the site along Peshawar Road.

District Officer Environment Shaukat Hayat said the Punjab Environment Protection Agency (Punjab-Epa) had not yet received any request from the provincial or the local department for a no-objection certificate on the underpass project. He said the highway department had informed them that they were planning to submit the environment impact assessment (EIA) report of the project but so far his department had not received any report.

When contacted, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar said the city government would start work on the project after getting a nod from the provincial government. He said the government had released funds for Chandni Chowk Flyover and work on the project had already been started. The shifting of utility services from the flyover site would be started on Monday, the DCO added.

Source: http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/14/underpass-project-put-on-hold.html

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