Rawalpindi: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the Punjab government to start work on the long-awaited Leh Expressway by the end of December this year. The provincial government officials called on the Prime Minister and briefed him on the ongoing development of the project. Commissioner Syed Gulzar Shah has been appointed as director of the project who will establish a project monitoring unit to overlook the progress of the project. The 55 billion Leh Expressway with flood Channel has lingered around for a long time. A complete survey of the land has been completed and the project director will soon start work on land acquisition.
The 18 km long Expressway project alongside the Nullah Leh would not only provide an alternate route to the commuters of the twin cities but also save the residents of the cities from the havocs of heavy flooding usually during monsoon season as the expressway would be built keeping in view a flow of 100,000 cusecs of water. The proposed, Urban Regeneration Plant, and plantation of millions of trees along the water stream would also benefit the residents of the area to avail jobs as well as enjoy a better environment. The value of their property would also enhance as the area beside the Expressway will be declared commercial where up to 8 story building can be constructed.
The federal minister of Interior Mr. Shaikh Rasheed has expressed the importance of the project several times. In July this year, while monitoring the expected flood situation in the Nullah, he informed the media personnel that, “Leh Expressway is very important for the residents of the city. The sitting government is eager to resolve public issues and ‘Leh Expressway’ is on top of the priority list. I know the public is facing several problems and I will try my level best to resolve them”. He further elaborated that “The Leh Expressway is aimed at treating the city’s sewerage and providing an alternate road connecting Rawalpindi with Islamabad, which will help clean up the traffic mess on Murree Road, Peshawar Road and Airport Road,” he had explained in detail.
Initially, the total length of the project was 30 km and the expected cost around 80 billion but later its length was reduced to 18.5 km and the cost was cut down to 55 billion and it will be built under the private-public partnership. The present government decided to start two mega projects for Rawalpindi namely Rawalpindi Ring Road and Leh Expressway and Flood Channel. The work on Ring Road was stopped by the Prime Minister after an inquiry into the project revealed corruption massive scale.