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PM opens work on metro bus route to new airport

By Ikram Junaidi 2017-05-07
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday inaugurated the construction of a metro bus route to connect the federal capital with the New Islamabad International Airport near Fatehjang.

The construction of the 25.6 kilometrelong route from Peshawar Mor to the new airport will be completed before Independence Day this year as the premier has already announced that he would inaugurate the new airport in August.

During his interaction with the media at the inauguration of work on the metro bus track near Fatehjang, Mr Sharif vowed to complete other dormant projects ignored by the past governments.

However, the topic of discussion got diverted to the issue of corruption in developmental projects.

`There is so much corruption in thecountry that if we get involved in probing them all our time will be consumed in the investigations and we will not be able to deliver,` Mr Sharif said.

`There are so many scandals and frauds that they even cannot be listed. There are a number of projects which could not be completed in 20 years due to which their cost increased manifold.

`But now it has been decided that all projects will be completed on time,` he said.

Mr Sharif said the new metro bus project would be completed by Aug 14.

`This metro bus project will facilitate the middle and lower middle class and that`s why I have directed that the project should be completed along with the new airport,` he said.

Islamabad`s Deputy Mayor Syed Zeeshan Naqvi told Dawn that the metro route project had been awarded to three companies NLC, FWO and Metracon.

`As the companies have been directed to complete the project by Aug 14, some of them have further sublet the contracts of one 1(ilometre each so that the work would be started at different points simultaneously and completed on time,` he said.

In reply to a question, Mr Naqvi said the metro bus route would be constructed on the left side of Kashmir Highway from Peshawar Mor but after a few kilometresit will be diverted to the median of the road tillits nnal destination.

`The width of the double-track metro route will be nine metres. Though the number of buses have not been finalised, around 25,000 people will be working at the new airport and a majority of them will use the metro service.

Mr Naqvi also said the capital city`s natural growth was towards the west and a large number of residential schemes were being developed in Zone II.

He said the cost of the project was estimated at Rs18 billion, adding the route would comprise four interchanges at Golra Mor, N-5 Interchange, M-1/M-2 Interchange and Top City Interchange.

There will be 14 bus stops, 11 underpasses and 12 bridges.

New Islamabad airport The prime minister later reviewed the construction work on the new airport and was informed that almost 95pc work on the project had been completed and the airport would be fully ready by August 14.

Mr Sharif was also informed that the airport would have a capacity of handling 4,500 passengers at a time with 15 stations where two A-380 aircraft would be able to dock simultaneously. The airport will have state-of-the-art facilities,including cargo handling, safety and security, passengerfacilitation and parking service.

The new airport project was conceived in 1984 and the same year purchase of land for the airport was started near Fatehjang.

In 2004, the foundation of the airport was laid by the then prime minister Shaukat Aziz.

The initial PC-I of Rs37bn was approved in 2008 but it lacked a fuel system, radar and radio control buildings, aprons, a sewage treatment plant, electricity and availability of water. It is estimated that around Rs100 billion will be spent on the construction of the airport.

Currently, the operationalairport near Rawalpindi provides services to three million people per year and has 20 checkin counters and parking place for 400 vehicles. The new airport with 90 checkin counters and parkingfacility for 2,000 vehicles will cater to over nine million people every year.

To supply water to the airport, two dams Ramma and Kassana would be constructed. The Ramma Dam to be built at a cost of Rs1.7bn will supply 3.3 million gallon daily (MGD) water while the Kassana Dam, which will be completed in the second phase, will provide 503 MGD water to the airport.