ISLAMABAD: The presence of ‘unauthorised’ people occupying the park in the Parliament Lodges had almost turned the place into a ‘no go’ area for women and other families residing in the lodges.
This was heard by a meeting of the Senate Committee of the House which met at the Parliament House on Wednesday with Senator Mir Yousaf Badini in the chair.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the committee reviewed various matters, including the implementation of the recommendations given during its last meeting, the progress of affairs between the contractor and the Capital Development Authority (CDA), tenders for different shops in the Parliament Lodges and government hostels.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Samina Saeed said that the park in the lodges was almost always packed with ‘unauthorised’ people. The presence of these strange men, she said, had made it impossible for female residents to go there with her families for recreation.
She went on to complain that the elevator and telephone exchange staff at the lodges is absent in various instances.
The senator, who hails from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), reiterated the demand that an ambulance should be arranged which is stationed at the lodges to respond to any emergency there.
Earlier, a section officer told the committee that they had written to the National Assembly Secretariat for conducting a mock fire drill. However, he said that they had been asked by the national assembly to wait until the assembly’s session is over to avoid any problems with parliamentarians during the session.
At this, committee members said that they will take up the issue with National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri. Lawmakers noted that the idea behind conducting the drill was to prepare parliamentarians for any such emergency situation.
Regarding the status of fire safety measures in the Parliament Lodges, the committee was told that a survey for this purpose has been completed and the committee will be updated after further discussions with personnel of the Civil Defense Department (CDD).
Matters pertaining to the allotment of shops and a cafeteria in the Parliament Lodges were also discussed in the meeting.
The committee was told that terms of references (TORs) for the tenders have been drafted and dispatched to the NA secretariat for approval. Committee members argued that they had identified various problems in the lodges but the relevant authorities had lent a deaf ear to them.
“We are longing for practical measures rather than verbal assurances,” the members lamented.
During the meeting, the committee discussed the progress of an inquiry against a CDA team’s negligence in the bidding process for the stores. The committee was told that the inquiry has been completed and that soon, a report will be furnished to them.
The committee was further told that of the outstanding Rs3.5 million gas bill of the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL) for the Parliament Lodges, Rs2.8 million have been cleared.
Furthermore, the remaining dues of Fatima Construction and Builders Company have also been paid.
The committee was apprised that as per its directions, measurements for the construction of additional blocks in the lodges have also been completed.
Authorities told the committee members that all illegal occupants in the lodges have been evicted and apartments have been handed over to the real allottees.
Islamabad Police Special Branch SP was asked about the registration of the people who are working in the lodges.
The officer told the committee that they have written to the relevant police stations seeking details of employees.
He added that they will share all information with the committee as soon as it is received.
The committee also inquired about shifting from C-Block of the lodges the control room for the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed across the facility. The SP said that they have written to the NA secretariat in this regard as well, but they have yet to receive a response. He added that the committee will be informed of any progress in the case.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2019.