Circular railway included in Leh Expressway plans

Deputations start in RDA for Ring Road project

Waqas Ahmed/Jameel Mirza July 14, 2020


The government has decided to press ahead with the construction of the Leh Expressway project in Rawalpindi, expanding it to include a circular railway track.

This was confirmed by the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) during a high-level meeting on Monday to review the project.

The meeting was chaired by Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and was attended by RDA Chairman Tariq Murtaza, Rawalpindi Chief Commissioner Muhammad Mehmood, MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafique, and other officials.

Rasheed suggested constructing residential and commercial projects along the expressway and directed the relevant institutions to ensure that the instructions are implemented at the earliest.

Earlier, the RDA chairman briefed participants of the meeting about the status of the project. He said that the project will be built at an estimated cost of around Rs60 billion under a public-private partnership.

The circular railway track for Rawalpindi will also be included in the expressway project. The minister was assured that the RDA will soon develop a mechanism for the Leh Expressway.

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Officers vie for RRR posts

With the Rawalpindi Ring Road (RRR) Project returning to the RDA from the Lahore Ring Road Authority (LRRA), officers in the authority are scrambling to secure lucrative spots in the executive body of the project.

RDA, now the executive agency for RRR, has formally approved the deployment of officers from other institutions on deputation for the project.

In this regard, a requisition was sent to the Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Department’s secretary on Monday.

It was recommended to transfer the Basic Pay Scale (BPS) 19 officer in the Local Government (LG) Department, Ali Imran, to the RDA as Building Control Director.

Moreover, the deployment of BPS-18 Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC) Planning Officer Shehzad Haider has been sought as the planning director.

Recently, two RDA officers including BPS-19 Land Use and Building Control Director Jamshed Aftab and Planning Assistant Director Samilullah Niazi had been suspended for their alleged involvement in irregularities and abuse of power.

However, the RDA Finance department has ordered that these officials report to the department before reporting to the Urban Development and Public Health Engineering departments.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the post of RDA Chief Director has been lying vacant for the past seven years. Apart from this, the posts of directors and assistant directors in different departments have not been filled either.

To fill this gap, RDA’s board had formally approved the deployment of officers on deputation from other institutions. Sources said that the authority has been tasked with completing the long-pending RRR project even though important seats are still vacant.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2020.


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