Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Tariq Mahmood Khan directed the contractors engaged on the already much-delayed Faisal Avenue-Jinnah Avenue flyover to complete the work in all respects and open it for traffic by March 23, the deadline set for the third time somewhere before October last year.

The CDA chairman was talking to the representatives of the constructors as well as the concerned CDA staff members during the visit to the under construction flyover Monday afternoon. It was his fourth visit to this particular site since taking over the office of the chairman of the authority back in October 2008.

“I have not granted any extension in deadline for the completion this project, nor I am going to grant any (extension) now. We know that this work could be completed within the scheduled time and that is what I want the contractors to do,” Chairman Tariq Mahmood said.

However, one representative of the contractors, M/s MATRACON Pakistan-XB Joint Venture, clearly said that some problems in completion of this project might crop up if the bills submitted by them are not promptly cleared by the CDA.

“We can complete the project and throw it open even by February 28 only if the CDA pays us the outstanding money. Very little work remains on the project and we can complete it quickly. But our hands are tied because of the want of money. Besides, suppose we complete the project on March 23, what guarantee we have that the outstanding payment would not be delayed by the authority because we have already suffered on this account since the start of this project,” the representative of the contractor told ‘The News’.

The project was launched on March 15, 2007 at a total cost of Rs815.285 million and it was scheduled to be completed by March 14, 2008. However, the start of work on the project was delayed by three months as it was launched on June 15, 2007 and the completion date for the project was extended up to January 15, 2009. However, another extension in completion period for the project was also granted and the last date set was March 23.

According to the briefing given to the CDA chairman and the members of the CDA Board at the site, 90 per cent of the work on the whole project has been completed. So far the RCC retaining walls, two out of three slip roads, the one kilometre underpass approach roads on both sides, the roundabout, transoms, and girders launching has been 100 per cent completed.

According to the briefing 80 per cent of work on the slip road no.4A is completed and it is expected to be completed 100 per cent by March 15. Similarly, 85 per cent of work on the flyover ramp has been completed and the rest of the 15 per cent is scheduled to be completed by March 10. About the ‘deck slabs’, the chairman was informed that out of 22 spans, 18 have been completed, amounting to 82 per cent of the work. The remaining part of the work is scheduled to be completed by March 10.

Chairman Tariq Mahmood was confident that the remaining part of the work on the whole project would be completed by the deadline of March 23 and refused to accept any argument for any further delay in completion of the project.

A senior official of the CDA, on the condition of anonymity, told ‘The News’ that the contractors did suffered on various counts and there were some legitimate reasons behind the delay in completion of the project including the tragic Marriott Hotel dumper bomb attack as well as the non-cooperation on part of the Islamabad Traffic Police.

“This also resulted in escalation in the cost of the project and it was revised from original Rs815.285 million to Rs1.06 billion. The CDA has already paid almost 75 per cent of the escalation in cost to the contractors in addition to the agreed contract money. However, some Rs40 million are outstanding against the CDA on account of a particular segment of work of the project. But that is being sorted out and the payment would be released soon. Other than this there is no unusual delay in payments to the contractors,” the senior official told ‘The News’.

Chairman Tariq Mahmood also took up the issue of ‘delayed payments’ to the contractors. He advised the Members of the CDA Board, who were accompanying him on the visit to set a meeting to settle these issues within the next couple of days so that this may not become a reason for any delay in completion of the project.

Source: The News