RE - Work on the remodelling of Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, which is the first project undertaken by the PML-N government in the City, has come to halt due to delay in the release of required funds and WASA's inaction to lay down central drain in middle of the road.
The stoppage of the development work has already concerned the local people, apprehending a big delay in completion of the project. It is also feared among the experts that the cost of construction would shoot up due to spiral inflation. TEPA sources feared that if it happened the contractors would demand revision in the rates according to which the process of pre-qualification would be started again. In this case suspension of work will linger on for indefinite period much to the nightmare of the local residents.
It may be recalled that PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif had showed his keen interest in the remodelling and redesigning of the road considered to be the one of the main arteries of the city connecting the Canal Bank Road to various residential societies. Shahbaz also inspected the road in March this year when the project was initially undertaken. The project that has been divided into three sections which will cost about Rs one billion while its cost was Rs 850 million when the project was started.
The delay in the construction of road has already made the lives of people miserable as both sides of the road have been torn apart because of excavation work carried out on large scale. Tones of rocks and concrete could be seen on this stretch along with mountains of sand and piles of soil which most of time keep blowing dust storm in the air. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists have to face the dust storm round the clock. Residents, patients of Jinnah Hospital, doctors, school children and passers-by are also facing difficulty while doctors claim that dust particles arising from the half-constructed road are causing respiratory problems to the locals, especially to the children. Traffic is allowed only on one side of the road. At rush hours, traffic jams have become a routine practice in the absence of traffic police or alternative traffic plan, making the life of road-users even more miserable.
It is may be recalled that PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif during his visits to the project, issued instructions to the then LDA director General Arif Khan and TEPA Managing Director Brig (r) Naveed to gear up the pace of construction work. However, during the first week of May, Shahbaz Sharif visited the site last time. Later on, new LDA DG Irfan Ali was assigned the task to take all the affairs into his hands to complete the project before time.
But it seems that he is no more serious in taking the affairs as evident is from the slow-paced progress of the project.
The sources revealed the TEPA and WASA had held a meeting on last Saturday to resolve the problem regarding inordinate delay. The TEPA authorities assured the WASA administration to start laying down central drain by using its own budget. They said that WASA would be paid forthwith as soon as the Punjab government would release the funds. The TEPA authorities said that an overhead bridge would be constructed above the railway line near the PECO Road.
The sources further said that primarily, August, 2008 was decided as deadline for the completion of whole the project. But subsequently, it was decided to finish the job by June up to the extent of the first phase, the sources added. In the first phase, Mualana Shukat Ali Road will be reconstructed from Canal Bank to Railway Line near PECO Factory. The six-kilometer road will be expanded from 24 feet to 30 feet. Besides this, 18-feet wide service road will also be constructed on both the sides of Mualna Shukat Ali Road to facilitate the commercial and other traffic.
Four of the bridges at this road will also be widened and footpath on both the sides will be constructed. 40 feet high sodium lights will also be fixed on the road.
In the second phase of the project, a two-way underpass will be constructed under the railway lines near PECO Factory so that traffic can approach Maulana Shukat Ali Road and Kacha-link Jail Road without any hindrance.
In the third phase of the project, a new road will be constructed from PECO Factory to Ferozpur Road near Chongi Amar Sadho.