Controversial Rawalpindi Ring Road Project Cleared with Public Funding

Rawalpindi Ring Road Project Cleared

Controversial Rawalpindi Ring Road Project cleared by the Federal Government with the public funding of 23.6 billion. The Central Development Working Party, the first tier for scrutiny of mega projects, on Tuesday conditionally recommended the Ring Road project to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council for consideration. However, CDWP cleared only the construction component of the project at a cost of Rs23.6 billion.  In Punjab, the government has already revised the cost of the land component scheme from Rs16 billion to Rs6.7 billion.  The project to be completed in three years is likely to be a long and difficult process.

The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, presided over a meeting of the CDWP.  The CDWP recommended three projects worth Rs60.6 billion to the ECNEC for further consideration. The total cost of the Rawalpindi Ring Road in Pakistan is Rs23.6 billion. The Punjab government proposed that the federal government should bear Rs15.2 billion. However, during the CDWP meeting, the federal government had already funded 13 new road projects worth 73.3 billion rupees of the Punjab state government through the Federal Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), which is why it was not financed.

The project was originally proposed to be built and operated by two companies in a public-private partnership (PPP) format.  However, the Punjab government shelved the private financing plan and opted to fund the scheme from the taxpayers’ money.  The CDWP was informed that the former Rawalpindi commissioner (Barid Khan) concealed the facts from the provincial government, according to an official who attended the meeting.  The CDWP has also sought assurance that the government of Punjab should confirm that the proposed agreed alignment in the PC-I is purely on technical grounds and will not be subject to investigations in the future.

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