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December 5, 2018

Work on Leh Expressway to begin soon


December 5, 2018

Islamabad : Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday designated Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as the focal person for the decade old stalled Nullah Leh Expressway and Flood Channel Project in Rawalpindi.

“He will spearhead the feasibility of the project and, if found feasible, further processing of the project in consultation with all stakeholders including Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, and the Punjab government,” a letter from the Prime Minister Office said.

Railways Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed at 52nd convocation of College of Physicians and Surgeon Pakistan (CPSP) held here at Pak-China Friendship Centre, Islamabad on Tuesday thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and said that work on 22-kilometer long signal free ‘Leh Expressway’ project would begin soon. “I am anxious to start Leh Expressway Project to provide relief of Pindiites,” he added. The project launched in March 2007 by former president General Pervez Musharraf was aimed at controlling floods in the Nullah Leh, construction of sewerage treatment plant and limited access roads on either side of the storm drainage to ease traffic congestion on the airport and Murree Road, besides easing flow on other local arteries.

Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) initiated work, but the PML-N government sto-pped funding in 2008, bringing it to a grinding halt. Under the original plan the expressway would have two-lane roads on either side of the embankment, interchanges at the Katarian Bridge, Moti Mehal and Ammar Chowk, besides eight flyovers and 10 bridges.

Under the ambitious project a sewerage treatment plant was also to be constructed near Moti Mahal Cinema, Rawalpindi besides laying of sewerage pipes in those areas of the old Rawalpindi city which either did not have such lines or were in dilapidated condition.

The initial plan of Leh Expressway was designed to line the sides of the old storm water drainage, now turned into an open sewer, with concrete walls and to have a concrete bed for smooth flow of water. Garbage dumps and sludge caused considerable damage to lives and property every year during the rainy season. Railways Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed has thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for selecting him as focal person of Leh Expressway Project and said that this project was introduced in 2006 but government of that time stopped this project. He said that all traffic related issues in between Rawalpindi and Islamabad will vanish completely with the completion of this project.

He also assured that floods will stop in Rawalpindi with the arrival of Leh Expressway Project. “The residents of Rawalpindi will be safe from flood like situation particularly during monsoon season,” he said. He also said that we will try to lay down railway track along road sides of Leh Expressway. “Making Leh Expressway is a main responsibility on my shoulders and I will try to complete it,” he assured.

It is worth mentioning here that Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) did not start work on the Leh Expressway also called ‘Shaikh Rashid Expressway’ during PML-N regime.

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