As traffic in the old market areas of Raja Bazaar increase around Eid, the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) has failed to meet another deadline to inaugurate the first ever parking plaza in the city.
All the roads leading to Raja Bazaar, which remain overcrowded on routine days, are choked daily, as the number of shoppers in city markets continues to increase.
On the other hand, the RDA has still not opened the six-storey parking plaza near Fawara Chowk, which would help ease traffic congestion on the narrow roads in the old markets of the city.
The RDA had announced that Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif would inaugurate the Rs180 million parking plaza on August 14.
“There are different wagon stops in Raja Bazaar. Public transport and private cars parked on both sides of these busy roads have been main cause of long queues of traffic on Liaqat, Jinnah, and City Saddar roads,” said a traffic warden on Sunday, as he futilely tried to bring order to the traffic flow at Fawara Chowk.
The traffic official said that if the parking plaza was made functional, the pressure on the main roads would be greatly reduced.
It was in May last year that the RDA started work on the parking plaza, which will be able to accommodate over 600 vehicles upon completion; it was due to be opened in July this year.
Later, the RDA said the Punjab chief minister would inaugurate it on August 14, but this plan was also scrapped as the competent authority was unable to complete work on the parking facility.
Parking Plaza Project Director Muhammad Akram Soban said that only the final touches on the facility remained and the majority of construction work had already been completed.
Soban noted that the RDA had paid Rs120 million to the contractor for the construction of plaza on 4.5 kanals, while the remaining sum has yet to be paid.
The project director said the exact time frame for the completion of the project was 15 months and its final deadline was October 31; he added that they would be able to open the facility before the deadline.
The official said that delays in passing the annual RDA budget for this fiscal year meant that the contractor had to wait for money to pay for project components, which is what caused the delay.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2011.
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