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By: Wajahat Ahmed Ghous

Mirpur: Mr.Justice Azam Khan, the former Chief Justice of Azad Kashmir, writes a letter to Prime Minister of Pakistan and urges to take notice on undue delay of completion of Rathoa Haryam bridge.

The open letter to Imran Khan states that the citizens of District Mirpur have always contributed towards development of country and got dislocated twice from their ancestral homes, first for construction of Mangla dam and later for its uprising.

He further stated that the under the clause 6.1 of agreement signed between Government of Pakistan, WAPDA and AJK Government, a subsidiary project for construction of Haryam Bridge was included in agreement to reduce the travelling distance between Mirpur and major towns situated on the periphery of Mangla lake by 21 km and travelling time by half an hour.

The project was approved in 2006 with the estimated cost of Rs.1.395 Billion but thereafter started a saga of mismanagement and bureaucratic bungling. When the bids were called for the construction of the project in 2008, it transpired that even the lowest bid was more than three times the approved cost.

Later a high-level committee was formed to revise the design of the bridge and it was decided to construct an RCC bridge with estimated cost of Rs.4.233 Billion. The bids were called again and tender was finally awarded in August 2011 to M/S Beixin Sky-ways JV, lead firm which was a Chinese company. M/S NESPAK was appointed as the supervisory consultant. Later on, NESPAK conducted a survey and soil testing which led to the proposal of change in the design. The proposal was accepted by Government of Pakistan and contractor submitted new design and after through the rigors of many committees the ECNEC finally approved the 2nd revision for Rs. 6.480 billion in July/October 2017.

The design of new 160 meters long steel bridge was duly submitted by the Contractor and vetted by his consultant along with the cost estimate. Since last two years the project is on halt and this may lead to increase in the estimated cost.

He emphasized that the only suffering are locals of District Mirpur who were promised over and over by the Government but nothing has been done on the ground. The construction was supposed to be completed in June 2018 and regardless of promises by the authorities the project is on standstills.

Azam Khan stressed that without the construction of the 160-meter Centre span, the entire huge investment of Rs.4.5 billion, made to date, will be squandered. He requested the Prime Minister of Pakistan to intervene into the matter and take notice of continuous undue delay in completion of project.