Chandni Chowk flyover project: NLC machinery smoke screening air traffic

Published: November 22, 2011
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FLIGHT HAZARD: 25 is the daily average of the number of flights whose visibility is being affected by construction work.

FLIGHT HAZARD: 25 is the daily average of the number of flights whose visibility is being affected by construction work.

RAWALPINDI: 

A concrete batching plant installed at Rawal Road is posing a hazard for Benazir Bhutto International Airport’s flight traffic.

Officials of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told The Express Tribune that the batching plant has been installed by the National Logistic Cell (NLC) for the construction of Chandni Chowk Flyover in violation of CAA’s rules.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilots, CAA officials and environmentalists said that the plant is billowing smog into the atmosphere, which is affecting the visibility of around 20 to 25 flights daily. They expressed concern over installing the construction machinery so close to the airport’s runway. An official said that a flyover should not be constructed so close to the airport as it would pose problems for future flights.

He said that NLC has turned down all the requests by the authority to remove its machinery from Rawal Road, which has been installed in the “prohibited zone”. Another official alleged that Commissioner Rawalpindi Zahid Saeed was creating hurdles in implementing the authority’s rules, as he is not responding to CAA’s directions.

According to a press release issued by City District Government Rawalpindi, a meeting was held to review the progress on Murree Road flyover project, chaired by of Commissioner Rawalpindi Zahid Saeed and MNA Hanif Abbasi. The meeting, however, only gave approval of shifting utility services from the project site instead of the problematic machinery.

The CAA official requesting anonymity told The Express Tribune that the commissioner is delaying the issue of relocating the batching plant away from the airport. The commissioner is buying time as the construction project will complete in another four months, he added.

Representatives of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGPL) and Water & Sanitation Agency (Wasa), among other departments attended the meeting. The meeting was informed that Rs22.272 million had been provided to the departments of utility services to shift their services from the construction site.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2011.

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