While city managers are determined to execute a controversial Rs8 billion project to replace streetlights with light emitting diode (LED) lights, they informed a parliamentary panel on Thursday that they lack funds to develop new residential sectors in Islamabad.
The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat, headed by Senator Shahid Hussain Bugti, met at the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Headquarters to discuss the development progress on several projects, including the Park Enclave, a lavish housing scheme launched by CDA last year.
The officials conceded before the committee that their negligence has resulted in no new sector to be launched in the last 23 years.
The housing shortage in the capital city has already reached 350,000 units, according to CDA’s records.
There are over a dozen sectors in the capital city whose progress has been stalled due to different reasons. They include sectors G-12, F-12, F-13, F-14, F-15, E-12, E-13, E-14, C-14, C-15, C-16, I-11, I-15, I-16 and I-17. The CDA’s budget of Rs23.99 billion for 2011-12 is also silent in this regard.
The higher authorities of the civic authority claim they don’t have enough funds to compensate landowners, which amount to at least Rs30 billion.
The committee members asked the CDA to recover lands from illegal occupants in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to ensure early development work.
CDA’s Member Finance Javed Jehangir said they had a plan to go for another two rounds of plot auctions to generate funds for development of Sector E-12 on priority basis.
CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal said the civic body is waiting for the approval of a proposed bill for amendments in the CDA Ordinance 1960, which will enable CDA to start development work through joint ventures by applying a package deal formula.
He assured the committee to review the short listing process under which four companies have been shortlisted for the development of Park Enclave.
Iqbal and CDA Member Engineering Abrar Shah also rejected media reports on the LED project, saying that the reports were misleading and the project is actually beneficial for the city. Sharing his views on the project, the chairman said it would save a huge amount of energy.
According to Shah, two international companies submitted their proposals for the project, and an Italian company has been shortlisted following the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority’s rules.
However, he did not mention who is pushing CDA to execute the project.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2012.