RAWALPINDI: Construction work on the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus Project may be stopped from Tuesday (today) due to the ‘Azadi March’ and ‘Inquilab March’ scheduled for August 14, informed a senior government official.
The project was already delayed due to various reasons, such as Ramazan break, monsoons and Eid holidays. However, this time, the project is likely to suffer further delay due to the planned protests of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).
The district administrations of the twin cities have placed containers at various locations of the cities to stop the protesters from reaching their destination which is why labourers are likely to stop working from Tuesday, said the official.
“It is difficult for contractors to freely move machinery as containers have been placed on the roads,” he added. The official said the situation is uncertain as to how long the protests will continue and thus the administration has no option but to stop the work on the ‘crucial’ project.
According to the official, it all depends on how the government deals with the protesters. In case of drawn-out demonstrations, we may even lose a week which we cannot afford, explained the official.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had inaugurated the project in March this year and it is supposed to complete in March 2015.
It will be difficult for the government to meet the deadline as the project is already delayed, said Zahir Saeed, the project director and Rawalpindi commissioner.
When asked why construction work is being stopped two days before August 14, the official said it would be difficult for workers to transport machines from one place to another with the erection of barricades.
“We will try our best to complete the project timely but it seems difficult to meet the deadline due to the current situation,” he said, adding that in such projects a single day’s work holds immense value.
When contacted, Capital Development Authority Spokesperson Asim Khichi claimed that work on the Islamabad section of the project would be stopped due to Independence Day celebrations announced by the government.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th,2014.
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