RAWALPINDI: The Government will not wait for the completion of Kashmir Highway interchange and open the metro bus service by the end of January.
Apparently disturbed by the criticism of political parties as well as road users, the government wants to start the service within the stipulated time.
Opposition parties, especially Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), said the government had launched the project to gain political mileage.
At the start of the project, the government increased the cost by Rs6.17 billion to Rs44.21 billion, which will be spent on Peshawar Mor Interchange.
However, the pace of work by the National Logistic Cell (NLC) on the Peshawar Mor interchange and 9th Avenue remained slow.
A senior official of Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) told Dawn that the provincial government had ignored completion of Peshawar Mor Interchange and Parade Avenue.
“NLC’s slow pace of work at Peshawar Mor Interchange will further delay the project and it was likely to be completed in May or June,” he said, adding that work on Parade Avenue will continue till March end.
Commissioner Rawalpindi and Metro Bus Project Director Zahid Saeed told Dawn that the government had set March 23 deadline for completion of Peshawar Mor Interchange and January 25 for the metro bus route.
“The NLC had been given two more months to complete the project. The corridor for metro bus service is likely to be completed by Jan 25,” he said.
“Peshawar Mor Interchange is already a separate component of the project as it will provide signal-free roads for Kashmir Highway users, and for this purpose the federal government is spending Rs6.17 billion. Four underpasses will provide free way to metro bus from Rawalpindi to Pakistan Secretariat,” he said.
The metro bus project monitoring and implementation committee chairman, Hanif Abbasi, told Dawn that the government was determined to start the bus service by the given deadline to provide travelling facilities to the citizens of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif want to start the service within the set deadline,” he said.
He said the metro bus service would be inaugurated by the prime minister and the chief minister on January 30.
Mr Abbasi said people were also facing problems due to the construction work.