LAHORE - As Italian ambassador has expressed serious concerns over slow progress on PIDSA (Pakistan Italian Debt Swap Agreement) project regarding rehabilitation historic core of Multan Walled City, the district authorities seek more time to complete the work.

As time limit for completion of the project was approaching the district authorities were striving hard to get an extension of six months.

As per the official documents on progress review of the project by steering committee the chair Arshad Saeed Ch Advisor to Chief Minister for Prisons was apprised about the progress made regarding Phase-II of the Project. The Project Director and then acting DCO Multan gave a presentation on the progress of the project. To a query by the Additional Secretary LG&CD Department he said the balance amount had been refunded to the TSU. He was further asked about the completion report of phase-I which was due for a long time. He replied that this report had also been communicated to TSU PIDSA Multan.

The Chair and Additional Secretary LG&CD Department showed their concern on the time limit for completion of the 2 phase is expiring on 30.06.2016, and they also showed concerns of the concerns of the’ TSU and Italian Ambassador.

It was also brought to his notice that during the last meeting of the Steering Committee, PMU, Multan Walled City Project was directed to consult with the experts of the Walled City Lahore Authority.

The PD Multan explained before the committee that the PIDSA authorities were being approached for extension in the completion period of the project for further six months.

Participants were of the view that the extension time must be rationalized as per facts and request may be floated accordingly so that real extension period could be solicited before the Federal Government and PIDSA.

The Chief Engineer (HQ), PLGB was of the view that the PD and director Finance Multan walled city project must sit with the Walled City of Lahore Authority in order to expedite the execution, to employ efficient contractors and carry out consultation on execution as per actual design.

It is to be recalled that the Punjab government Punjab government wanted to restore Multan - the second oldest city in the world, on the pattern of Italian city of Rome at an estimated cost of Rs251million.

Financial as well as architectural assistance of Italy is there to restore ancient city of Multan.

Originally a brainchild of former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, the project would be completed under PIDSA with the active involvement of Punjab government.

The former premiere during his tenure had requested his Italian counterpart to provide consultancy to preserve ancient Multan on the pattern of Rome renovation which was approved.

As per the documents, Rs47m had been earmarked for rehabilitation of the Haram Gate, Rs26m for Musafir Khana, Rs70m for Sarafa Bazar and other historic sites.

An officer on behalf of the DCO Nadir Chattha claimed that the rehabilitation work will be completed by 31st December 2016.