On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting and formed a five members’ committee to finalize the proposal to begin the Leh Expressway project, under which another road will be developed to connect Rawalpindi and Islamabad along with a flood channel.
Adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister on Finance Dr Salman Shah will lead the committee while, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Rawalpindi Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood, the Punjab minister for industries and Punjab chief secretary are its members.
Moreover, Sheikh Rashid and Parliamentary Secretary on Anti-Narcotics Sheikh Rashid Shafique briefed Mr Khan. The major options were under-observation in the mode of a public-private partnership.
Rawalpindi Commissioner retired Capt Mohammad Mehmood told the meeting that the total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 79.1 billion, including Rs 6.1 billion for the construction of roads on both sides of Leh Nullah from Soan River to I.J. Principal Road, Rs 16.7 billion on the flood channel, Rs 16.5 billion for structures and bridges, Rs 2.8 billion to shift utility services and Rs 6.8 billion for horticulture, taxes and consultancy charges.
“As many as 1,604 houses fall in right of the way of Leh Expressway. Total 1,279 kanals of land is required. As many as 1,035.98 kanals of land is private, 132.4 kanals is of the Military Engineering and Works, 54.72 kanals is of the Chaklala Cantonment Board and 56 kanals is land of the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board,” the official said.
He further added that the widening and lining of Leh Nullah would be the right way to enhance its capacity, it will help to avoid flooding for another 100 years and a route between the twin cities would reduce the traffic on existing roads.
“It will also solve the environmental pollution and foul smell in areas along Leh Nullah,” he added.
The second option under-observation, was to use 35 kanals of land near Liaquat Bagh for commercial purposes and use the earnings on the expressway project whereas, the third option was to give an investor 84 kanals of land near Soan River to generate money from commercial use.
Mr Shafique, a PTI MNA told the reporter that work would begin soon; a meeting in this regard will be held in Lahore in a week or two.