Quaid E Azam Business Park (QABP) near Sheikhupura is all set to receive its own interchange connecting it with Motorway M-2. The inauguration of work for this interchange was expected in the first week of January and it’s still hoped that it will take place before the end of this month. It is pending the approval of the Punjab Government and a visit by the Chief Minister of Punjab for ground breaking.
QABP, located near Sheikhupura is a landmark project by the Punjab Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (PIEDMC) which has launched about nine industrial zones including the much talked about Sundar Industrial Estate (100% colonised).
What is QBP?
QBP, a large industrial state, spread over 1536 acres of land once completed as per its envisaged master plan and business concept, can attract investments of around Rs 250 billion. This modern industrial state enjoys the status of a special economic zone (SEZ) and is said to have the capacity to generate two hundred and fifty thousand new jobs for skilled and unskilled workers. The Industries Department of the Punjab Government is especially keen on getting QABP completed as soon as possible to stimulate business and investments across Pakistan’s largest province – to offset the earlier stagnation caused by corona pandemic.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic which has impacted all facets of Pakistan’s economy in two separate phases disrupted the plans, and the inauguration had to be postponed. In December, Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, himself became ill with coronavirus. He has now recovered and it is anticipated that the inauguration which got delayed because of his unavailability would take place very soon.
Why QBP needs a new Interchange?
While QABP is located right on the M-2, it doesn’t have a link road connecting it with the M-2 Motorway. M-2 is one of the first motorways in Pakistan which connected Lahore with Islamabad and was opened for traffic in 1997. For this reason, it has been decided that a direct interchange at Monosaranwala bridge would be constructed which will provide direct access to QABP from both Lahore and Islamabad sides.
When you travel from Lahore to Islamabad, this new Monosaranwala interchange would be located 10 kilometers before the Sheikhupura interchange and the link road would probably be 1 to 1.5 kilometers which will directly connect the industrial state with the motorway. This would allow heavy industrial traffic from both Lahore and Rawalpindi to take the direct route to the industrial state and would provide excellent access to the SEZ.
Two companies are expected to work on this project; Frontier Works Organization (FWO) which has the concession for the motorway and is responsible for the management and all logistic facilities at the M2 and the National Highway Authority (NHA). Once the inauguration takes place, the construction work would kickstart and it is expected that the interchange and the link road will be completed in six months. PIEDMC is hopeful that the construction of this interchange would start in the first week of February. The budget for this specific interchange is Rs 1.5 billion which PIEDMC is funding using its own revenue.
Multipurpose Complex at QABP
PIEDMC management team, under the leadership of its chairman, Syed Nabeel Hashmi, and CEO PIEDMC Javed Illyas is also working to inaugurate a state-of-the-art Customer Facilitation Centre at QABP.
COO PIEDMC Muazzam Ali, who is overlooking the development of QABP as a project manager, describes this Multipurpose complex as unique and one of its kind. GVS has learnt that not one industrial state present in Pakistan has been able to develop a customer service complex of this nature which is being provided by QABP near Sheikhupura. Moreover, none of the industrial estates which are being conceived at the moment have a multipurpose complex – nor do they have plans to build one in the foreseeable future – of this stature and capacity.
It is important to note that this complex will have six storeys, and every storey would have approximately 50,000 square feet. Through this complex, industrialists would have access to offices, showrooms, shops, business centers, auditorium, hotels, restaurants, and food courts which are to be constructed in the near future. This center would also have the offices of PIEDMC itself and construction of a technologically advanced medical center is also a part of the plan. Customer convenience is PIEDMC ‘s priority and this is why this multipurpose complex would have twenty executive apartments, two gymnasiums, coffee shops etc. This Multipurpose Complex would provide all kinds of resources, facilities, and logistic support needed by the companies that are setting up there.
Once completed, this six-storey building aims to attract not only the residents of QABP but also the people belonging to Sheikhupura. The cost of this project would be approximately Rs2 billion, which will be met by PIEDMC, which is a Public-Private Partnership Company concerned with the development of this mega project. In the first phase, PIEDMC would be contributing Rs 1 billion – within the first year – for the development of this project. The second phase of development would start soon if the customer response is favorable.
Ground breaking of Motorway Interchange awaits CM Punjab’s visit
The construction work for both the interchange and the Multipurpose complex would kick off once the inaugurations are approved by the Punjab Government. The complete details of these projects were submitted to the Punjab Government several weeks ago. It was anticipated that the inaugurations would take place in the first week of January, but they had to be postponed due to the illness of the Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. However, now that Mr Buzdar has recovered, it is expected that both the projects would be launched before the end of January.