ISLAMABAD - Despite immense opposition from opposition political parties and locals of Islamabad capital city, the government has advised the CDA to keep on working on multibillion rupees tunnel project.

“Concerned authorities in the CDA are continuously working on this important project that will not only modernise the capital, but will also bridge the gap between demand and availability of residential apartments in Islamabad,” an official of CDA said on Monday. The CDA is presently working day and night on an estimated billion of rupees ‘dream project’ that includes building a second capital across the Margalla Hills and connecting the both with a tunnel. On the other hand, the opposition parties and their leaders have raised their voice against the project arguing it may disturb the ecosystem as well as cause damage to environment of the lush green capital.

The prominent leaders who have offered strong opposition to this project include Chairman PTI Imran Khan and Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed of PML-Q.  Also, a large numbers of locals of Islamabad have strongly protested against the project.  However, the government seems in no mood to postpone the project. Official sources revealed that construction of two ring roads in Rawalpindi-Islamabad and a new airport at Rawat are also part of this mega project, which, as soon as finalised would be announced by the prime minister himself.

The sources said that the incumbent chairman CDA had been asked by the Prime Minister to work on this project on a war-footing to ensure that this huge project materialises at the earliest.

Talking about the salient features of the project, these sources said that there was a proposal to build a new Islamabad across the Margalla Hills and then connect both the new Islamabad and the old Islamabad through a tunnel. The sources said that the government expects to earn billions of dollars by offering residential plots on new sides of the proposed new Islamabad across the Margalla Hills. Similarly, it is expected that the new Islamabad plots would also earn billions of dollars. The sources said that foreign investors, particularly the overseas Pakistanis, would be wooed to invest in this project. This huge project would be implemented through a limited company - Pakistan Avenue Development Company - recently approved by the CDA Board. The CDA has started acquiring land for the establishment of new Islamabad cost more than Rs 1 billion to the civic authority.

For the same purpose the Punjab government also issued a notification on August 15, 2013, wherein office of the collector of district Rawalpindi has been asked to facilitate CDA, saying: “The land is likely to be taken by the Capital Development Authority (Chairman’s Secretariat), Islamabad, through its company-”Pakistan Avenue Development Limited”- for public purpose, namely, for the Establishment of Economic and Multi-purpose Zone at public expense. It is hereby notified that the land described below is likely to be acquired for the said purpose.”

The collector of District Rawalpindi has already authorised survey of the land and other necessary acts required for the proper execution of this work.