RAWALPINDI RING ROAD PROJECT

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Rawalpindi ring road project instead of putting an end to the problems, unfortunately gave rise to the new ones. The project which originally aimed to sort out the traffic problem and boost the economic connectivity by linking the cities is in turmoil. The purpose of the ring road project was to provide a bypass access without involving the city itself. Its aim was to bridge the gap between the cities. This would have solved the pollution, crime and traffic management problems.

However the ground realities are a lot more different than expected. There were two plans for the project. Previously the funds were to be procured by china. The total projected cost was $ 459 million. AIIB (Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank) agreed to give a loan of $ 402 million which means the remaining amount of $59 million were to be invested by the government of Punjab. Upon the proposal of a new plan i.e. linking the corridor with the motorway, the bank strongly opposed it. This issue was countered by the development authorities by saying that it would be useless to go forward with the project without the linkage of the two. Thus, the bank backed out.

However, lately we have seen that after China dropped out from the project, it is under a lot of political pressure. It is so because the authorities are being accused of changing the plan to benefit themselves.

Upon an interview Dr. Firdous allegedly said that the plan was illegally amended by the commissioner and his associates. The project became the epicenter of corruption. The commissioner illegally spent $ 2.3 billion to acquire the land surrounding the altered route she further added. A disciplinary action is to be taken by the NAB to inquire further about these allegations. In addition to this, Dr Firdous Awan said that the commissioner and his officials were suspended from the service. Not only they received financial benefits but also facilitated the housing schemes e.g. Nova City, Blue World and Top City etc.

The project has proved to be an amalgamation of political involvement and changed procurement methodology. There are several unstated reasons behind the change of route of the project. In order to increase the vote bank and political influence this change has taken place. Moreover, the extension in ROW (right of way) is not very feasible. The housing societies as well as political authorities have largely benefited from this changed plan. The housing societies have procured the land surrounding the project, thus the value of acquired land is increased. As far as politicians are concerned they have built strong ties with locals in order to increase their vote bank respectively

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