LAHORE, Aug 8: The Lahore Ring Road project authorities have temporarily stopped payment of compensation amount to those whose land has been acquired or is being obtained for starting construction work on the 8.5-kilometre long Kumaha-Ferozepur Road section.

The project management took the decision after it came to know that the officials concerned had released payments to the residents of a Mauza (village) above the market or government’s scheduled rates against the land they had earlier acquired from them, it is learnt.

“The project management had been informed that the officials, to start construction work on Kumaha-Ferozepur Road section of the project, had acquired the land on higher rates than those fixed by the government,” Lahore commissioner and project director, Jawad Rafique Malik, told Dawn. He said after receiving these reports the management ordered initiation of an inquiry into the matter.

He said keeping in view the situation the project administration had temporarily stopped making further payments to the previous land owners so as to reassess their compensation cases. As soon as the probe management completed the inquiry it would start making the payments, he added.

He pledged making the probe findings public and action against the officials if they were found involved in releasing excessive
payments to the land owners.

He said most of the land had been acquired for launching construction work on the Kumaha-Ferozpur section. Mr Malik said the project management had also planned construction of 40-km long Gajjumata-Gulshan-i-Ravi (Babu Sabu) section of the ring road, as second part of the phase-1, through a public-private partnership. “The work on the under-construction 40-km long Gulshan-i-Ravi-Kumaha section of the project’s first phase (part-1) is expected to be completed soon as most of the construction work on this section has been finished,” he added.

Project’s Technical Director Sohail Raza said as the management had almost completed the land acquisition for the Kumaha-Ferozpur Road section, it was awaiting the final approval of the authorities concerned to start the construction work.

He said the project management would also construct Ferozepur Road-Halloki section, an extension of the ring road, after completing construction work at all sections of the project. He said the management had already opened most of the 40-km long Gulshan Ravi-Kumaha section of the ring road for the traffic.