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Kashmir Highway project: Instead of receiving funds, CDA conducting inquiry
10-31-2013, 11:58 AM
Post: #1
Kashmir Highway project: Instead of receiving funds, CDA conducting inquiry
ISLAMABAD:
Instead of suggesting ways to streamline funds for the much-delayed Kashmir Highway widening project, civic authorities are busy preparing a reply for premier Nawaz Sharif about contractors used in the project. In the upcoming days, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) will inform Sharif about the procedure used for engaging private firms for the project.
Following the premier’s visit last Saturday to one of the site offices of Kashmir Highway where, instead of addressing substantial issues pertaining to the project’s delay, including removal of the army depot within the proposed alignment of the highway and release of funding by the government, the CDA chief ordered an inquiry into the award of the project’s contract.

Nauman Sheikh, the authority’s deputy director (technical), has been nominated as the inquiry officer who will produce a fact-finding report over the award and criteria adopted to pre-qualify construction firms for the project.
“You can’t say it is a formal inquiry. It is a fact-finding report regarding criteria adopted for the selection of contractor,” CDA Member Engineering Sanaullah Aman said. The same was stated by the project director Shahid Mehmood.

CDA officials see allegations of misappropriation levelled by the premier as ‘misguided’. “It’s a fact that neither CDA nor the federal government released promised funds for the project since its launch,” said an official concerned with the project, adding that if the required funding were released the project would have been completed in three months.
“Why didn’t the city managers inform the premier about the delay in the release of funds and removal of the army depot? For face-saving, they put the entire blame on selection of firms for the project,” said the official.

The road widening project, termed a “lifeline for the city” by town planners, was initiated in 2007 to provide easy access to traffic coming from Lahore and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and to open a new link between the capital and the proposed new airport. Owing to paucity of funds, the cost of the project has escalated from Rs2.192 billion to Rs4.857 billion.
The project is originally to be taken up in three contract packages – Package-I was from Peshawar Mor to Golra Mor, Package-II was Golra Mor to Peshawar Mor, and Package-III was from Golra Mor to GT Road. The total length of the road project is 11.068 kilometres and it will have five lanes on each side.
On February 12, 2011, two firms were awarded contracts for Package-I and Package-II. The contract amount for the packages was agreed at Rs1.649 billion for Package-I and Rs1.7 billion for Package-II. The completion date for both packages was February 11, 2013, that was later extended to November 2013.
The project’s funding was approved on an equal partnership, with the federal government covering half of the total cost while the other half would be self-financed by CDA
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