Leh Expressway project may hit a snag

RDA allocates paltry sum in development programme


Jamil Mirza June 21, 2021
Traders say solution to traffic congestion on Murree Road is to build alternate roads like the Leh Expressway. PHOTO: AGHA MEHROZ/EXPRESS

RAWALPINDI:

The much delayed Leh Expressway and two other projects of Rawalpindi may hit a snag yet again as the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) has earmarked a meagre sum with a proposal to complete work on the vital schemes in three financial years and beyond.

RDA, which sought a total sum of Rs36 billion from the Punjab government in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for 2021-22, has included three mega projects — the Leh Expressway project and a flood channel and remodelling of Kutchery and Defence Chowk — by proposing to allocate a paltry sum in three financial years 2021-22 to 2023-24 and beyond.

According to documents available with The Express Tribune, the Rs36 billion ADP proposal had been sent to the Punjab government for final approval by including all the three major projects with an “unapproved status”.

The Leh Expressway will stretch from Sawan Bridge in Rawalpindi to Islamabad Expressway through IJP Principal Road. Leh Expressway is an important project as it will help put an end to traffic congestion in the garrison city. The flood channel will also resolve the issue of flooding in the city during the monsoon.

Read Administrative ineptitude delays RR, Leh Expressway

As per the details, the RDA has proposed a total sum of Rs30,250 million for the land acquisition and construction of the Leh Expressway and the flood channel. Of the total sum, only Rs20 million has been earmarked for 2021-22, Rs300 million for the year 2022-2023 and Rs500 million for the financial year 2023-2024 while the remaining amount of Rs29,430 million has been proposed for the financial year 2024-25 and beyond.

In the ADP, a total sum of Rs100 million has been proposed for the Project Management Unit (PMU) to be set up for the urban regeneration along Leh Expressway of which only Rs20 million has been proposed for the fiscal year 2021-22, Rs40 million for 2022-23 and Rs40 million for the financial year 2023-24.

In the ADP, a total of Rs3,630 million has been proposed for the road infrastructure project related to the extension and remodelling of Kutchery Chowk of which Rs300 has been proposed for the year 2021-2022, Rs700 million for 2022-2023 and Rs800 for the fiscal year 2023-2024 while the remaining funds Rs1,830 million has been proposed to be released in the succeeding years.

In the ADP, a total sum of Rs2,220 million had been proposed for the Defence Chowk extension and remodelling project of which Rs300 million has been proposed for the financial year 2021-2022, Rs600 million for 2022-2023 and Rs700 for the financial year 2023-2024 while the remaining sum of Rs 600 million has been proposed to be released in the subsequent fiscal years.

Even if the provincial government approves the funds, work on these projects will stretch for another three years or beyond, causing a delay in their completion.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2021.

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