Corruption mars Lahore Ring Road’s completion | Pakistan Today

Corruption mars Lahore Ring Road’s completion

LAHORE: The future of the Lahore Ring Road (LRR) project, brainchild of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, is again looking dark, as three major packages of its northern loop planned to be completed in the current fiscal year, have been shelved after alleged misappropriations and slow delivery of payments to the contractors, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Although other packages of the LRR project would continue according to the original roadmap, the scrapping of the three packages would miss the deadline for completing the project in the current fiscal year. The three package of the LRR included package 11 covering 1.74 kilometres including construction of an interchange at the Ghasi Road at the cost of Rs 657 million, package 16 covering 2.50 kilometres including construction of a road portion from the Badian Road to the Kharia Distributory worth Rs 178 million and package 17 covering 2 kilometres including construction of an interchange at Kharia Distributory worth Rs 208 million.
A CM Secretariat official told Pakistan Today that construction work on the other nine packages and seven interchanges was moving at snails pace due to the fragile financial situation of the province but derailment of the three packages of LRR was a real setback.
According to preliminary investigation, funds embezzlement had caused the scrapping of the three packages, he added. “It is too early to estimate the scope of the corruption but a covert inquiry is underway to fix the issue and nab the alleged culprits,” the official claimed.
Since the launch of the three packages, the Punjab government was facing problems in delivery of payments to the contractors. Eventually, the cash-strapped situation also played some role in the discontinuation of three segments of the project, he added.
The CM’s Personal Staff Officer Khawaja Imran Raza said that scrapping of the packages might have been done to rationalise the project cost. But he did not tell the reason that as to why the cost needed to be revised when allocation had been done in the budget 2010-11.A PML-N member of provincial assembly (MPA), seeking anonymity, said that Nawaz who had a keen interest in the project had been informed about the development.
He said that Nawaz showed displeasure on the performance of Lahore Ring Road Project Director and Lahore Commissioner Lahore Khusro Pervaiz, a blue-eyed boy of Shahbaz. An official of the communication and works department said that the LRR project cost was Rs 7 billion in 1992 and had increased to more than Rs 150 billion until 2009. The new change of plan would make the project cost prohibitive, he added.
He said that some contractors had even applied for revision of their contracts and refused to continue working on the project. A NESPAK official, seeking anonymity, said that the organisation had nothing to do with the delay in the LRR project despite the fact that NESPAK had designed the project. He said that the Punjab government had allocated Rs 4 billion for the LRR project in budget 2010-11.
“Rs 2,875 million on ongoing schemes and Rs 1,125 million on new schemes are being spent. The government estimated the completion of the LRR first phase including north loop covering over 43 kilometres and nine interchanges in the current year. “A detailed feasibility and engineering design for the south loop would be finalised during 2010-11,” he added.
He said that new schemes in the project included Rs 200 million for widening and improvement of the road from the Rehman Villas to the Bhatta Chowk, Rs 150 million for intelligence system along the LRR, Rs 100 million for fencing of the LRR in congested urban areas, Rs 675 million for land acquisition for widening of the Ghazi Road.

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