ISLAMABAD: The ambitious 10th Avenue project, originally slated for completion by March 2024, is on the brink of missing its deadline, with only 17% of the work completed to date.
Expressing concerns over the sluggish progress, an engineer from the Capital Development Authority (CDA) stated, “The deadline is looming, and we have a mere six months left, but there has been no substantial advancement on the project.”
This federal government-funded initiative, managed by the CDA, has faced significant delays in recent months, with work essentially at a standstill, limited to the construction of drainage systems.
In an attempt to expedite the project, the federal government allocated Rs. 1.3 billion in June. Regrettably, progress remains lethargic, leaving only a small fraction of the project completed due to insufficient funds.
The 10.2 billion rupee project, initiated by the PTI government, initially received over a billion rupees in funding.
However, the allocation for fiscal year 2022-23 dwindled to just Rs. 350 million. Subsequently, the previous PDM government released Rs. 1.3 billion in June of the same year, with a meager Rs. 400 million set aside for fiscal year 2023-24.
Following the injection of Rs. 1.3 billion in June, the CDA cleared the contractor’s outstanding dues, but progress remained slow.
The CDA engineer cited funding as a significant obstacle, given that the project began in March 2022 and was intended to be completed by March 2024.
According to sources, meeting this deadline now appears highly improbable, though efforts will be made to accelerate work on-site.
Attributing part of the delay to the monsoon season, the engineer explained that adverse weather conditions hindered full-scale construction efforts.
Highlighting the urgency of the situation, another official pointed out that failure to complete the project on time could lead to escalation charges, given the constant rise in construction material prices.
Critics have called for a more serious commitment from the federal government. Earmarking a mere Rs. 400 million in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2023-24 is seen as inadequate for a project of this magnitude.
With approximately Rs. 2.5 billion received so far, the government’s financial support and commitment are deemed essential for the timely completion of the project.
In February of this year, the National Logistics Cell (NLC), responsible for construction, warned the CDA that it would disassociate itself from the project if necessary funds were not released.
The 10th Avenue project comprises two phases. The first phase, currently underway, involves the construction of a 5km road from Katarian Bridge on IJP Road to Srinagar Highway near the intersection of G-9 and G-10, while the second phase will extend from Srinagar Highway to Margalla Road.
Besides, Rimsha Colony, an informal settlement in H-9, will also be affected by the project.
However, a solution to this issue remains elusive, despite agreements reached during the 2022 public hearing for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).