New Islamabad international airport : PAC says won’t allow construction of extra runway

ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday summoned secretaries of the Planning Division, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Highway Authority (NHA) chairman for a briefing on different options for construction of the approach road leading towards the new Islamabad international airport.While taking a briefing from the NHA over proposed construction of roads to the new airport, PAC Chairman Khurshid Shah said the committee wants to complete the roads as early as possible at the minimum cost. He said there is no need to expand the airport road from six lanes to eight lanes, as it will cost the exchequer too much in these times of financial constraints. He also said that the PAC will not allow construction of an extra runway at this stage.The PAC also opposed commercial activities in front of the airport, which the government is planning currently. He suggested that the Planning Division, Civil Aviation Authority and NHA find out the best way for construction of approach road to the new airport. Before the completion of the approach road, Shah said it is impossible to make the airport functional. NHA Chairman Shahid Tarar told the PAC that the NHA is only an implementing body and has nothing to do with policy matters. He said the approach roads’ construction for the new airport was conceived by someone else and the NHA was only told to construct the roads. He informed the committee that different options are available for the construction of the road leading to the airport along with construction of one extra runway. There are 600 meters right of ways along the road toward the new airport. Main purpose of such high right of ways to establish some commercial activities there, he maintained. Under the new idea, Tarar said 28.8 kilo meters road will be constructed to connect Islamabad to the airport.He also informed the PAC that still there is no PC-I of new road of the airport, it will be prepared, will be presenting in Central Developmental Working Party meeting of the planning division and may be it also need approval from ECNEC. The PAC decided first to hold meeting with Planning Division, CAA and NHA collectively and then make decision. The committee refuse to take up audit paras of the ministry of communication as currently there is no permanent Principal Accounting Officer (PAO) of the ministry. It will be a futile exercise if take up the audit observation with additional secretary ministry of communication. The PAC cancel discussing audit paras till appointment of permanent PAO.

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