Road project delays are still an issue


The construction of the 128-km Lillah-Jhelum dual carriageway project, which began in 2021, has been delayed due to a lack of funds, affecting commutes and transport for over one million residents of Pind Dadan Khan in Jhelum district.

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The Punjab Communications and Works Department (CWD) neglected the project, which was supposed to finish by 2024. Patients, travellers, traders, visitors, students, employees, and lawyers face daily challenges due to this road’s incompleteness.

The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) ceased project progress due to a lack of money. These monies have been frozen for nearly two years.

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Under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), the Rs12 billion project was supposed to be completed in three years.

The Islamabad Ministry of Planning and Development funded the project. These monies were not released on time.

The planning ministry released Rs3.3 billion of Rs5 billion in fiscal year 2021-22.

The allocation was cut to Rs500 million in 2022-23, with Rs400 million released.

Rising costs and delays raised the project cost estimate to Rs16 billion.

At least Rs4 billion was needed this fiscal year. Only Rs1.8 billion was budgeted, and second-quarter funds have not been provided.

The CWD failed to request financing from the planning ministry for two years, which contributed to the delay. This disregard caused further delays, making project completion impossible, stated a project worker on condition of anonymity.

Fallout

The delay not only inconvenienced locals but also cost income. The expensive modifications of the stalled project have reduced tourism at Khewra Salt Mines and Nandana Fort.

Due to delays and traffic jams, a minute-long route took longer.

Passengers and passersby have contracted asthma, breathing disorders, and other infectious diseases from construction dust and pollutants.

The citizens have petitioned the Lahore High Court, with Justice Jawad Al Hasan of the Rawalpindi Bench inviting the planning ministry, finance ministry, Punjab CWD, and FWO to respond.





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