ISLAMABAD: Financial crunch and bureaucratic snags have caused further delay in the completion of the under-construction Zero Point Interchange (ZPI) project, putting the patience of the citizens to test.
Among other reasons, the mega project has been further delayed for eight months because the Capital Development Authority (CDA) failed to pay Rs660 million to the Karachi-based firm on time, sources told Express Tribune on Monday.
Project Director of ZPI, Syed Mumtaz Hussain, confirmed that the contractor has sought eight more months to complete the project. He said that 90 per cent of work has been completed. The official said Rs20 million more will be required to construct the remaining loop, which will facilitate traffic from Faisal Mosque to Peshawar Mor.
An official in CDA’s contract department on condition of anonymity, said that given the civic authority’s financial crisis, “I doubt it will be able to make the remaining payments to the contractor in the coming four months.” He said even if the authority makes the payments immediately, the construction work cannot be completed by the end of this year. The work on the loop near Pakistan Monument is yet to start, which will take about three to four months to complete, he added.
However, CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi told the Express Tribune, “I am optimistic that the project will be completed by December 31”. He said as most of the work has been completed, the remaining would also be completed on time.
Inaugurated by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in September 2008, the Rs2.34-billion-project was expected to complete by August 14, 2010. The completion date was later pushed to December 31. The interchange consists of one flyover, three loops, three underpasses and four pedestrian bridges.
The project was first conceived in the mid-1990s, after which millions of rupees were wasted on three earlier designs and PC-1 contracts to allocate space for construction of the National Monument at a cliff near Zero Point crossing. The delay in implementing the project escalated construction costs from Rs400 million to Rs3 billion, after which the project was eventually given to a Karachi-based firm, Maqbool Associates. The recent monsoon rains have also contributed to the delay in construction of the project.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2010.