RAWALPINDI: Even as the local government in Rawalpindi stands paralysed by the provincial government to issue any tenders or contracts, the Punjab government has wasted no time in starting work on the Ring Road project in the city by issuing tender documents to private firms for consultancy on the project.
The route alignment of the project has already been completed.
Yesterday, some six private consultancy firms interested in obtaining the consultancy contracts for the project acquired tender documents. The government intends to award the consultancy contracts within a short period of two months.
Once the consultant prepares their report, the government will start the process of acquiring land for the project. The government is responsible for acquiring land for the project for which the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has expressed its desire to give a loan worth Rs47 billion.
The land acquisition process is expected to be completed through the land acquisition collector of the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) — which is listed as the executing authority of the project.
The RDA has previously completed the Rawalpindi Metro Bus Project and is currently also handling work on the Leh Expressway project.
Earlier, the AIIB of China had agreed to grant loan for Ring Road project.
Further, it is expected that two separate memorandums of understanding (MoU) for the project will be signed while the Rawalpindi commissioner has been appointed as the project director.
The 38.8 Kilometers long Ring Road project will start from Banth on the Grand Trunk (GT) Road and end at the Thaliyan Motorway Interchange.
Moreover, two, 12-kilometre-long roads will be linked with Ring Road from Rawat and Tarnol.
The industrial and fruit markets are set to operate along the Ring Road, once complete. Further, various markets from the Ganj Mandi will be shifted to the Ring Road section which would help solve some of the traffic problems of the city.
Last November, the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) had revised the initial estimate of Rs144.414 million for the feasibility of the project down to Rs90.975 million.
The government will be aiming at minimising expenses incurred on the project by adopting the rule for the lowest cost. This is why a project management unit for the project will not be formed. Instead, the executing agency appointed will play the role of the project management unit.
Per the proposal, there are two components of the project. The first component includes the construction of around 58.8 kilometres of roads (including the link roads), ancillary works such as installing traffic management and surveillance equipment, construction of operations and maintenance camps, their facilities along with procurement of equipment, installing toll services and other communication systems, consulting services and supervision consultants.
The second component includes institutional strengthening and the provision of technical assistance for project implementation agencies.
The AIIB had estimated the total cost of the project to be around Rs61.699 billion ($459 million). Of this, the AIIB was willing to finance around Rs54.037 billion ($402 million), while the Punjab government was due to fork out Rs7.662 billion ($57million). Moreover, the government was supposed to procure land for the project using its own resources.
However, until last month, the government had failed to draft a master plan for the project despite it being listed as a requirement by the AIIB.
However, an RDA spokesperson had explained that the master plan would be created after the design and feasibility of the project are complete.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2019.