Govt pushing CDA to complete Expressway project on public-private partnership mode

The federal government instead of allowing Capital Development Authority (CDA) to start widening of Islamabad Expressway with its own resources is insisting to complete the project on public-private partnership mode but at almost four times higher cost.

The original cost of said project was around Rs10 billion, however, the government wants to complete it with Rs45 billion on public-private partnership mode. The Planning Commission of Pakistan has included expansion of Islamabad Expressway in Public Sector Development Programme Plus (PSDP-PLUS) with an estimated cost of Rs45 billion.

The federal government wants to lease out the right of the way of Islamabad Expressway to generate funding to make this project viable. However, the city managers are reluctant to complete this project on public-private partnership mode as they are of the view that the completion of project on such a high cost is not viable option and it should be completed with government funding.

A meeting in this regard was held with Deputy Chairman Planning Commission in chair in which Member Planning CDA Dr. Shahid Mahmood briefed the participants that the authority could not take up this project on public-private partnership mode as it involves a higher cost, whereas, the authority is also barred from doing such ventures according to its ordinance.

However, well-placed sources inside the authority claimed that the federal government is sticking with the idea and pushing CDA to prepare feasibility and design of said project for public-private partnership mode.

Earlier, after being neglected in federal budget and a cold response received from the private housing societies, the incumbent management of CDA had decided in September 2019 to develop Korang Bridge and an underpass at PWD as part of Islamabad Expressway Signal Free Corridor from its own resources.

The CDA had requested the federal government to allow the civic body for building aforementioned infrastructures with its own resources. However, the response of said correspondence is yet to be received. Sources informed that the federal government is reluctant to allow CDA to do these projects with its own resources as the civic body has not only sought a go ahead but also requested for financial adjustment on later stages against these projects.

The signal free corridor project was a brainchild of previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and it was divided into two portions, from Zero Point to Koral and Koral to Rawat.

The first portion has already been completed with construction of four interchanges at I-8, Sohan, Khanna and Koral , but the second portion leading towards Rawat was facing delays due to lack of funding as earlier the civic body had declined to fund it while the project could not get required funds in PSDP for the year 2019-20 as well.

Source: Nation