Two mega road projects lying incomplete in Chakwal

By NabeelAnwar Dhakku
CHAKWAL: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while relaunching two mega road projects in Chakwal on July 16, 2014 had ordered the heads of the departments concerned to complete the roads and a by-pass by July 2015.

The two projects were first inaugurated by his predecessor Raja Pervaiz Asharf in September 2012.

But even today the work on the roads is lying incomplete.

Under this mega project Mandra-Chakwal Road (63.25km) and Chakwal-Sohawa Road (70km) were to be made dual carriageways at the hefty cost of Rs9.32billion and Rs7.90 billion respectively while to save Chakwal city from the influx of heavy traffic a 14-km-long northern by-pass was also to be built with an estimated cost of Rs1billion.

The ground situation suggests that the Mandra-Chakwal Road may be completed before 2018 but the Chal(walSohawa Road and northern by-pass are unlikely to be completed before 2018.

Sources told Dawn that a revised PC-1 for ChakwalSohawa Road is yet to be approved by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) while the district administration of Chakwal has not formally handed over the acquired land for northern by-pass to Pakistan Public Works Department (PakPWD).

`Although the revised PC-1 for Chakwal-Sohawa Road has been approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) but it still awaits the nod of Ecnec,` an official of PakPWD told Dawn.

So far only 25pc construction work has been completed on Chakwal-Sohawa Road which consumed Rs2 billion-Rs1100m were released in 2015 and Rs1100m in 2016.

However, in 2016 the project was revised and a revised PC -1 is yet to be approved by Ecnec.

`If the Ecnec approves the project within next few days and if the funds are released smoothly even then the work on this road would take at least two years to complete,` the official said on the condition of anonymity.

Chakwal-Sohawa Road, which links Chakwal with Jhelum and more than two dozen villages with Chakwal city, taxes the patience of commuters as the road is under construction.

On the other hand the third deadline for the completion of Mandra-Chakwal Road was set as June 30, 2017 but according to an official it would likely to be completed by September.

Meanwhile, the residents of five villages, Nurwal, Dhab, Thanil Fatohi, Dhakku and Odherwal Chakora have also expressed their serious reservations over the rates the district government offered for the land they acquired from them for the construction of northern by-pass.

The by-pass which is supposed to be started from Behlcri village on Mandra-Chakwal Road would end on Chal(walTalagang Road near Chakora village after passing through the areas of the five villages.

Some pieces of land of Nurwal and Odherwal Chakora were commercial but the district administration offered same price for all the land (barren, fertile and commercial) of a village.

A number of villagers of these villages have filed their objections but their cries have not been heard as yet.

`We will challenge the decision of district administration in the court,` said Advocate Chaudhry Amjad Hassan Ali from Dhab village.

When contacted, Assistant Commissioner Shahid Yousaf claimed that the land was acquired at a proper rate.

`The process of land acquisition has been completed and PakPWD could start work on by-pass,` he said.

Courtesy : DAWN