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Bus to Islamabad: Pindi’s pain is Islamabad’s gain
02-21-2014, 02:01 PM
Post: #1
Bus to Islamabad: Pindi’s pain is Islamabad’s gain
Bus to Islamabad: Pindi’s pain is Islamabad’s gain

ISLAMABAD:

While the Punjab government may be generous in offering to do the capital’s part in the completing the Metro Bus Project, the latter still needs to pore over its law books to see if it allows a provincial body to carry out development work on federal land.

In January, the prime minister (PM) chaired a meeting to finalise the project. The minutes of the meeting say that a decision was taken that the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) will solely execute the project in both cities.

The PM’s decision to mandate the RDA with executing the work in Islamabad Capital Territory limits requires approval from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Board, in line with provisions of the CDA Ordinance 1960.

“The CDA Ordinance says the capital’s civic agency is responsible to carry out developmental work within ICT limits,” said Habibur Rehman, a former CDA Law director general.

Rehman said the ordinance allows other agencies to execute developmental work “with the permission of the competent authority”. The CDA board’s permission is necessary and mandatory for the purpose, Rehman repeated.

On the other hand, a law directorate official who declined to be named said that the ordinance puts all development within ICT limits in the CDA’s mandate. “There is no provision for any agency other than the CDA to execute a project.”

Talking to The Express Tribune, constitutional expert Senator Raza Rabbani said, “It’s unusual that the Punjab government will carry out a development project in the federal capital. Principally, it’s unnecessary and they should not do so.” However, Rabbani said if the Punjab government insists and the CDA consents to surrender its mandate, there is no harm.

A CDA official said that although it has already been delayed, the issue would be brought to the board for approval in the coming days.

Last month, the RDA had sought expressions of interest from firms intending to execute hte Islamabad side of the project. The estimated cost of Islamabad’s section is Rs15 billion for a 14.6 kilometre stretch from Faizabad to Pakistan Secretariat, passing through Ninth Avenue and Jinnah Avenue. Under the plan, an additional lane to each sides of the existing Ninth Avenue will be added.

“The existing Ninth Avenue has six lanes, three lanes on each side. The Islamabad master plan provides for eight lanes, so the addition of two more will not be a violation of the plan,” said an official.

Work will commence in March and is likely to be completed in 10 months. The selected firms will be responsible for undertaking round-the-clock construction work. The major work includes construction of underpasses, flyovers, road work, drainage, and bus stations.

The main metro bus system would be supported by the Islamabad Bus Service, which will run on four different routes within Islamabad. The CDA will execute the Islamabad Bus Service project.
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