RDA proposes 24 development schemes for next fiscal

Funds expected to be issued to PTI lawmakers soon


Jameel Mirza February 25, 2019
PHOTO: EXPRESS

RAWALPINDI: With scant funds issued for development projects in the city during the ongoing fiscal year, the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) has now included as many as 24 development schemes as part of its suggestions for the government’s Annual Development Programme for the fiscal year 2019-2020.

A summary in this regard has been sent to the Punjab Planning and Development Department for review.

The projects include the 18 past unapproved projects along with six projects which commenced during the tenure of the previous government.

These include the construction of the Leh Expressway, the Ring Road, the Double Road Interchange, Liaquat Bagh as well as the Marir Chowk Signal-Free project.

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The government has allocated around Rs6 billion for acquiring land for the Ring Road project and a further Rs900 million to develop the feasibility and plans for the project as part of its Project Concept-II (PC-II).

The project, though, is still waiting for the final approval of the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

However, the government does seem keen on the idea proposed by the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government to secure funding for the project from China’s of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a loan.

The RDA, which has completed several mega projects in the past, has completed its homework for the mega projects and has been listed as the executing agency for them.

Other projects which started in the tenure of the previous PML-N government, include the dualisation of a link road between Tipu Road and Airport Road, dualization of the Qadir Khan Road from Islamabad Highway Missile Chowk to Falcon Complex Road, construction, extension and improvement of the Dry Port Road from Rahimabad Flyover to Welfare Complex at Chaklala Railway Station on Shell Depot Road, construction and repair of the Airport Road from Noor Khan Airbase to Koral Chowk.

RDA’s unapproved development schemes include Ring Road, Leh Expressway and Flood Channel, Liaquat Bagh Marir Chowk Signal-Free Project, remodeling of the Double Road and IJP Road, remodeling of the Ammar Shaheed Chowk, Dualization of the Dhoke Hassu Road, dualization of Dhoke Mangtal Road, construction of three pedestrian bridges on Airport Road, dualization of the Lehtarar Road from ASF School to Khanna Bridge, expansion and improvement of the Service Road in Muslim town, improvement of the Service Road at Haji Chowk, Transformer Chowk and Khurram Colony Chowk, construction of a link road from Railway Bridge to Welfare Complex in Wazir Town, extension and repair of the road from Chaklala Village to main airport, improvement of Sanaullah Road, Murree Road to Islamabad Road, dualization and restoration of High Court Road to Gulrez Takar Chowk, expansion and improvement of  Morgah Road, GT Road to Old Morgah Road, construction of a pedestrian bridge on Murree Road at Benazir Bhutto General Hospital.

Funds release

Contrary to their stance on discretionary funds and of providing funds to local governments, the Punjab government has released development funds only for lawmakers of the PTI. All the while, departments of the local government in Punjab have been paralyzed due to the shortage of funds along with a ban on local bodies to start any development projects with locally generated funds.

National assembly and provincial assembly lawmakers from the PTI have received funds for development projects in their respective constituencies.

The PTI government has increased funds for MNAs from Rs150 million to Rs200 million while provincial lawmakers have been allocated Rs100 million each. In Rawalpindi, that means that the six MNAs and 14 MPAs from the city will have a total of Rs2.6 billion available.

The funds are expected to be issued next week. The district council of Rawalpindi has also allocated Rs3 million for the 46 Union Councils (UC) and has asked for development schemes for the UCs.

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In Punjab, instead of the elected municipal bodies, the district administration and Public health engineering department have been made the executive agencies for development schemes which will be funded by funds issued to MNAs. Meanwhile, there is a wave of disappointment amongst municipal representatives associated with the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation, municipal corporations, district councils, town committees and UCs whose tenure is set to be completed in December 2021 after they were given a year-long extension from the Punjab Assembly.

Devoid of funds and powers, local representatives have stopped going to their offices.

Rawalpindi Mayor Sardar Naseem Khan said that the Punjab government had completely neglected local bodies and expressed his displeasure over the ban on issuing tenders imposed by the Punjab government.

He urged the chief justice to take suo-moto notice on this matter.

WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM QAISER SHERAZI

 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2019.

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