Green signal for Nullah Leh Expressway

PRIME Minister Imran Khan designated Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad as the focal person for the decade old stalled Nullah Leh Expressway project in Rawalpindi. Since this project was the brain child of Sheikh Rashid, inauguration of which was also performed in former President Pervez Musharraf era, therefore, he has been given the responsibility to spearhead the feasibility of the project and if found feasible, it will be executed after consultation with the Ministry of Planning and the Punjab Government.
Sheikh Rashid is very optimistic about the project which indeed is a very important one as it will not only provide an alternative route to access the federal capital and reduce ease traffic congestion on other roads but also save the people of Rawalpindi from flood like situation especially during monsoon season. In fact Frontier Works Organization had initiated work on the project but the PML (N) provincial government stopped funding it in 2008 bringing it to a grinding halt. Under the original plan, the Expressway would have two lane roads on either side of the embankment besides construction of sewerage treatment plant. Now Sheikh Rashid is also proposing to lay rail lines along road side of Leh Expressway. Given the hundreds of thousands of people that move between the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, it is indeed imperative to launch such an integrated and well-connected transport system that ensures mass movement of the commuters and the train is the best mode for this purpose. After laying the rail track, metro trains could be plied on it. The one problem in execution of this important project is the population that resides on both sides of the Nullah Leh. Therefore, before actually starting work on it, Sheikh Rashid in cooperation with the Punjab government must ensure that these poor people get their due compensation so that they could purchase their abodes somewhere else. Any negligence or mismanagement may lead to litigation which will once again bring the project to a complete halt. In addition, the original plan that also envisages Flood Channel project must also be ensured in order to save the people of Rawalpindi from the devastation that is caused by floods especially during monsoon season.

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