Rawalpindi: The Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) has expedited work on implementation of first phase of Parking Plaza and Shopping Centre at Fawara Chowk, Raja Bazaar.

RDA Director General Makeen Shahbaz accompanied by Land Directorate and Estate Management Director Shuja Ali told this correspondent here on Wednesday that the work on shifting of services has been initiated by the concerned departments, including Iesco, PTCL and SNGPL, on the directives of the RDA. The funds for shifting of services had already been allocated by the RDA, they said.

They said that the RDA had already removed the Suzuki pickup stand from the Fawara Chowk main stand to start work on the project. However no proper alternative site has been provided to Suzuki transporters running on different routes for parking their vehicles. For this reason, Suzuki transporters park their vehicles at different points, making it difficult for passengers to find out the right Suzuki pickup to reach their destination.

Earlier, the RDA had decided to shift the main stand of Suzuki pickups outside the Government Gordon College, which was not allowed by the management of the academic institution for security reasons.

However Director Shuja Ali said that the Suzuki pickup stand has been shifted temporarily. As soon as work on first phase of the project is completed, the Suzuki stand would shift to its old site i.e. at the parking basement.

The first phase of the project includes construction of basement for parking lot and one storey shopping and commercial plaza. With the construction of parking lot, the Suzuki transporters would be allowed to park their vehicles there, he said.

The overall cost of the project is estimated at Rs402 million. The funds for the first phase of the project would be half of the total cost of the project, he said. Till now, the RDA has paid Rs8.2 million to the concerned departments, including Iesco, PTCL and SNGPL, for shifting of services. Iesco and SNGPL have completed 50 per cent work while the PTCL has complete 25 per cent work.

The construction work on the project would kick off before the start of the fiscal year 2010-2011 and it would be completed in two years. More than 500 vehicles could be accommodated in the parking lot after the completion of first phase. The RDA is implementing the project through its own funds, he said.

After completion of the first phase, the RDA would generate huge revenue through auctioning of commercial plots and parking fees. This amount would be spent on starting the second phase of the project, including a three-storey commercial building, Shuja Ali said.

Meanwhile, the traffic problem on different roads has worsened and one can witness traffic jams throughout the day between Raja Bazaar and Gawalmandi Chowk with the displacement of the Suzuki pickup stand. The traffic police seemed helpless in controlling the traffic.

The traders of Jinnah Road, while commenting over the issue, held the RDA responsible for improper planning while implementing the project. The concerned department should have allotted the site of the old building of RMC for Suzuki pickup stand on temporary basis till the completion of parking lot in Raja Bazaar. The haphazard parking of Suzuki pickups creates mess and further aggravate the problem of traffic suspension on roads between Raja Bazaar and Gawalmandi, they alleged.

Source: The News