Peshawar road project delayed for want of funds

RAWALPINDI, Aug 12: The shortage of funds for the expansion of Peshawar Road from Chur Chowk to Chairing Cross has delayed the completion deadline set by Punjab chief minister.The project will likely be completed by September, despite the deadline of August 14 set by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The project started on March 3 and it has to be completed within three months but due to lethargic attitude of Punjab government’s department, the project was further delayed for August 14.

Punjab government launched the project in such a hurry that it failed to get approval from Punjab Development and Planning Commission and Environment Protection Agency.

It had given a contract to National Logistic Cell (NLC) and requested to construct the road and the provincial government will pay the amount very soon.

However, it delayed the payment and after the budget for the fiscal year 2012-13, the government able to get approval from development and planning commission and finance department sanctioned the money for the purpose.

The 20-km stretch from Chairing Cross to Chur Chowk is still incomplete. Only Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) managed to chop down 100 trees along the green belt and it has also yet to shift the service lines including water supply lines in the way from the road.

The work on service lane was also incomplete. Even, officials working on this stretch said that this stretch may not be completed by August 14. “The stretch is likely to be completed by next month as there were many water supply lines laid by cantonment board without any planning and it burst, creating a hurdle in the construction work,” said one of the officials of Punjab Communication and Works department. The construction company also held the delay in getting clearances for relocation of High Tension (HT) overhead transmission lines, land acquisition issues, which caused delays and creation of additional structures beyond the original scope of work, responsible for its slow progress.

Looking at the slow pace of work at the project, the Punjab communication and Works department special team led by its secretary will visit the garrison city last week. National Logistic Cell (NLC) made it clear that the project would not be completed by August 14 and it would be ready for inauguration after September. They were of the view that the utility service providers failed to shift its services and it would take one month more.

When contacted, PML-N MNA Malik Abrar said that the project would be completed by September due to some delays. He said that soon after the completion of this project, the provincial government would start another project to construct underpass on Peshawar Road at Pirwadhai Mor and overhead way on the other side of the road towards Tarnol.He said that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would lay the construction stone, next month for the overhead bridge and underpass and also inaugurate Peshawar Road expansion project.

District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar said that there was no shortage of funds for the Peshawar Road Expansion as the government would release the funds for the purpose soon.