The Punjab chief minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif has asked the city administration to complete the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC) project by August 14.
During his visit to the institute on Saturday the CM expressed his displeasure over the slow pace of work and directed the administration to expedite it. He expressed his desire to have modern facilities and foreign doctors at the institute to provide quality healthcare to the patients.
The CM was given a briefing by the under-construction institute’s Medical Superintendent Dr Shoaib Khan, saying that the outpatient department and emergency wards would be made functional by July 30. He said the administration is in contact with foreign qualified doctors, who have expressed their willingness to work at the hospital.
The provincial government, according to PML-N Member of National Assembly (MNA) Muhammad Hanif Abbasi, has also allocated Rs100 million for the construction of a drain adjacent to the hospital.
Meanwhile, the provincial government has also decided to go ahead with the much-awaited Leh Expressway project using its own resources. Another PML-N MNA Shakeel Awan told The Express Tribune on Sunday that the chief minister is convinced to take up the multi-billion rupees project despite the fact that the federal government has refused to bear 50 per cent of the cost as per the original plan.
The CM has formed a committee headed by Planning and Development Commission Chairman Javaid Aslam to improve the project’s design and negotiate with Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), which was given the contract to build the signal-free roads on both sides of the Leh Nullah in 2007.
According to Awan, the expressway has been delayed due to rising construction cost and unavailability of funds. The cost escalated from Rs18 billion to Rs23 billion.
The expressway was initiated by military dictator General Pervez Musharraf in March 2007. Under the project, two signal-free roads were to be constructed on both sides of Leh to provide hassle-free vehicular movement from Rawalpindi to Islamabad. It also included the drain’s pavement and repairing of sewerage lines from New Katarian to Jhanda Chichi Bridge.
The project, according to Awan, will be completed in different phases and the government has allocated Rs5 billion for its first phase under the Annual Development Plan for the financial year 2012-13.
The first phase includes construction of roads on both sides of the drain from Rialto Chowk on Benazir Bhutto Road to Gawalmandi. It also includes pavement of the drain’s bed and construction of sewerage lines.
MPA Shehryar Mirza said FWO officials have agreed to go ahead with the project and take back their claim for compensations from court if they were given the task to execute the project’s first phase. He also said that the project will minimise the risk of flooding in Leh through uninterrupted flow of rain water.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2012.