Work on the dual carriage link road from LOS Ferozepur Road to Multan Road is going at a snail’s pace, inconveniencing the residents of the area. The project, which costs around Rs1,846 million, was launched over a year ago and it was supposed to complete in six months. But there is no sign of the project going to be completed anytime soon.
The link road project starts at LOS Ferozepur Road and goes up to Multan Road, culminating at Samnabad Mor.
The project includes covering more than 2-km long nullah (drain) from Samanabad to Gulshan Ravi, and widening of the road on both sides by 60 feet. The road shall eventually have three lanes on either side.
Before the launch of the project, LDA demolished constructions on the LOS side, Multan Road and Poonch House Colony. This 60-foot wide road is supposed to provide the motorists with a link to Motorway M-2 and Ring Road.
When asked about missing the deadline, LDA Assistant Director and project supervisor Muhammad Latif says the project has not been delayed because of the shortage of funds.
“There is no budget issue,” he asserts. “Covering the drain should be finished by November 30 this year. Work is in progress.”
Commenting on the slow pace of work on the dual carriage Link Rd, Latif says allied agencies such as Wasa, Lesco, SNGPL and PTCL are faced with hurdles in shifting their infrastructure. “For example, there is a 132KV Wapda wire and the agency has difficulty in relocating poles and wires. Such issues are responsible for delaying the completion [of the project].”
The shopkeepers who work at stores along the road complain that their businesses have been ruined ever since the project was launched.
Besides, the residents of the area say respiratory problems are on the rise, thanks to the dust-laden air around the road. They also say drain water enters their homes and sometimes mixes with the drinking water pipes, causing diseases of multifarious kinds among the users.
Muhammad Ramzan, a resident, says electricity remains suspended for 6-7 hours every day as Wapda has to shift poles from the road. “I don’t have any objections as to the project but I am concerned because the work is being carried out at a very slow speed. It doesn’t seem likely that the project would be completed even two years down the line.
“I wonder if the government can complete Azadi Chowk, which was a far bigger project, in a record short time, why they should be failing in the LOS project?” he asks.
A Wasa official, on condition of anonymity, tells TNS that covering the drain is not technically possible because it (Wasa) does not possess the up-to-date machinery for the purpose. “Fifteen years later, I see the drain getting choked. And, if that happens, it shall become increasingly difficult for Wasa to clean it.”
A contractor of the project, on the other hand, thinks there should be no problem in cleaning the covered drain because the drain is open at many places where heavy machines, especially imported from Turkey, would be installed.
These machines, the contractor claims, would regularly suck garbage out of the drain and keep it flowing.
Sohail Ahmed, another resident, believes “covering the drain is a good idea but I am worried about the delay being caused. The Link Rd will help ease the flow of thousands of vehicles on a daily basis and reduce travelling time for those who want to reach the Babu Sabu Interchange Motorway from Ferozepur Road.
“Once the drain is covered, the area people will be rid of the foul stench, the dirt and the mosquitoes it gets now.”
Interestingly, the construction of the said road has led to a spike in property prices in the area. Given such huge advantages, little and temporary troubles such as dust, the closure of the road and the barricades should be overlooked,” he says.
Meanwhile, traffic congestion on alternative routes is the order of the day. Both heavy and light traffic vehicles run on these routes and become a nuisance for the residents.
He appeals to the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take notice of the delay and order the concerned department to complete the project at the earliest.