Coming undone: Bacha Khan flyover still under construction

The project was to be completed by March 2010 but the design was revised twice and project report altered thrice.


Express August 15, 2011

KARACHI:


Construction of the city’s longest flyover, the Bacha Khan Flyover at Banaras Chowk, has once again come to a stop. The root of the problem this time was unpaid dues.


As it is being constructed in an area with an unstable law and order situation, the design has been revised twice and the project feasibility report altered three times. The flyover was supposed to be completed by March 2010 at the cost of Rs354 million but this has now increased to Rs1.85 billion. It was being constructed for cargo services from SITE and to avoid daily traffic which has worsened because of the delays. In May 2011, City Administrator Lala Fazlur Rehman had claimed that the flyover would open for the public in two months.

Project director Ishrat Rehman told The Express Tribune that despite the unpaid dues of Rs240 million, the firm had continued to work on the flyover on assurances from the city administrator.

The project director added that the construction of the flyover faced two major obstacles which included the provincial government. “The planning and development department has withheld the work order because of which the firm is unwilling to work as they fear that their investment is at stake,” said Rehman.

“The second major problem we face is the fact that the provincial government has not released the required funds which include Rs640 million for construction.”

A City District Government Karachi (CDGK) Works and Services Department official told The Express Tribune that the work order had nothing to do with the planning and development department because it was the responsibility of the CDGK Works and Services department administration.

The official claimed that the provincial government had not made a provision for the flyover in the 2009-2010 financial budget. He added that it should be included in the 2010-2011 budget.

“The DCO was unable to release funds to complete the flyover because the CDGK funds were frozen because of the revival and abolishment of the commissionerate system,” said the official.

The project director claimed that one track of the flyover was functional and it would take another year and a half to complete it depending on the availability of funds.

Sources in the CDGK’s finance and planning department told The Express Tribune that a summary of Rs783 million had been submitted to and approved by the provincial government.

They claimed that the CDGK’s unpaid dues to the construction firm did not exceed Rs190 million.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2011.

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