Another member of Rawalpindi Ring Road probe body transferred


RAWALPINDI: The second member of the Rawalpindi Ring Road project scam fact-finding committee was on Tuesday also transferred and allowed to proceed on a 120-day leave.

According to a notification, additional commissioner coordination Jahangir Ahmed was transferred and Arif Umar Aziz, deputy secretary (archives), was promoted to BPS-19 and appointed as the additional commissioner coordination.

Last month, retired Capt Anwarul Haq was removed from the post of deputy commissioner Rawalpindi after he refused to accept a report of the fact-finding committee.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 27 took notice of changes made to the alignment of the proposed Ring Road which not only increased the cost of the project by Rs25 billion but also benefited some private housing societies.

The chief secretary Punjab had constituted a four-member committee, comprising Commissioner Rawalpindi Syed Gulzar Hussain Shah, Jahangir Ahmed and Anwarul Haq.

As per a notification, the fourth member was to be selected by the three members. But the committee did not select the fourth member and submitted a report to the provincial government.

On the other hand, members Jahangir Ahmed, Anwarul Haq submitted separate reports negating allegations regarding the mega project.

The Jahangir Ahmed report said the alignment of 2017 was a study which was subsequently approved by the chief minister. But the road was to be built through a loan from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) of China.

The AIIB approved the concept paper and asked to prepare a detailed feasibility design, environmental impact assessment and resettlement plan, including enhanced scope to revisit the alignment. Zeeruk International was hired for the task.

“Zeeruk International submitted a new alignment according to the revised scope in the first week of April 2020. At the same time, the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) submitted an unsolicited private-public partnership proposal to the RDA.”

The RDA submitted the proposal of the FWO to the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Cell which shared it with the project review committee. The committee considered it at its 7th and 8th meeting. Subsequent to that, it was presented in the third policy and monitoring board meeting headed by the chief minister.

It was accorded authorisation and the PPP cell was told to process unsolicited proposal in accordance with PPP Act.

The fourth meeting of the monitoring board declared the unsolicited project proposal submitted by FWO as non-responsive and decided to take the project forward through a solicited project proposal.

It said: “Enhanced scope of alignment was proposed by Zeeruk International first and then reviewed by Nespak. The alignment option from Radio Pakistan to Murat village was finalised. The project director, commissioner, permitted to carry out feasibility and detailed design from the motorway to Sangjani. Zeeruk International afterwards started its feasibility as per the changed scope which is questionable.

Initially, Zeeruk had proposed an alignment which was passing through the upper side of the CPEC route. The Strategic Planning Division (SPD) rejected the alignment and stated that it had sensitive installations so they can’t allow this alignment.

The SPD guided them to stay on the other side of the CPEC route. The NHA was contacted again to tug in the project in the existing right of way of the CPEC route. The NHA allowed using the CPEC route.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2021

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