RAWALPINDI: The long-pending Ring Road project moved a step closer to reality after the provincial government picked a Swiss company as the consultant for the project. However, the company will be scrutinised for physical verification before it is provided with work order and contract.
The Swiss company, Zurich International, will be required to submit a detailed design and structural engineering report to the executing agency of the project — the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA).
If it fulfils the remaining requirements, the company would be awarded the Rs85 million contract.
The contract, though, required that the Swiss company complete the project within six months.
RDA intends to invite consultancy offers again if the company fails its physical verification test.
The Punjab government has allocated Rs4 billion of the estimated Rs6 billion in the next fiscal budget for acquiring land for the project. The process of acquiring land for the project, though, will only begin once the consultant submits its report to the executing authority.
Zurich International had beaten off completion from consulting companies such as MS National Engineering, MS Omani Company, MM Pakistan and MS Associated Consultancy Centre.
The ring road will help alleviate congestion in the central areas of Rawalpindi apart from reducing the travel time between the twin cities, especially for heavy vehicles.
Furthermore, main business hubs, markets and industries of the city will be shifted to areas along the Ring Road, paving way for new business activities. Some Rs6 billion have been allocated for acquiring land for the project. Moreover, of the Rs90.975 million allocated for devising the feasibility of the project, Rs5 million have been set aside for the establishment of the project management unit.
PC-I of Leh Expressway
The provincial government has also finalised the project concept (PC-I) of the Leh Expressway. The plans include six water recycling plants as well as the expressway.
The foundation stone for the project is expected to be laid by Prime Minister Imran Khan in July.
The Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has told The Express Tribune that the estimated cost of the project is around Rs70 billion.
He added that two graveyards and a mosque are falling in the project’s radius. These, he said, will be moved to an alternate location so that project construction can proceed.
Ahmed said that a number of private companies have come forward to build the project under a public-private partnership. He disclosed that at least two companies suggested incorporating a monorail train track in the project to set up a mass transit system in the expressway. Dialogues with the partners have begun, he said.
Should these dialogues prove successful, the government will save 85 per cent of the project cost that was allocated in the budget, he added.
Poor performance of RDA departments
The poor performance of two departments of the RDA has irked citizens while the authority is said to have been deprived of a sizeable chunk of revenue due to the lethargy of relevant officials.
During the ongoing fiscal year, some 768 residential buildings plans were submitted to the authority for approval.
However, the department has thus far approved only 262 plans were approved while remaining 506 are pending approval after different objections were raised on them.
Similarly, 27 of 48 commercial building plans submitted for approval have been granted the green light.
Moreover, the property transfer department has finalised only 35 transfer cases so far of the 100 cases it has received.
Citizens said that they are tired of repeatedly visiting the RDA office to have the critical documentation process completed but more often than not, they are returned home empty-handed and helpless.
They urged the senior officials of the department to keep the truancy of key officials in check apart from rationalizing the objections raised by the building department.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2019.
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