ISLAMABAD: Work on Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) Sector I-12 apartment project has been stopped due to anomalies in the grant of contract, said Federal Minister for Housing and Works Tariq Bashir Cheema on Wednesday.
“The contractor, Maksons, is defaulter of billions of rupees in Lahore Metro Bus and Lahore Development Authority projects. The firm was given the contract in the past government under a shady deal,” he told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Housing and Works during its meeting at the Parliament House.
Payment to the contractor has been stopped due to its dubious past, he told the meeting chaired by MNA Engineer Muhammad Najeeb Haroon.
Cheema pointed out that even the Capital Development Authority (CDA) was not issuing a no-objection certificate for the Sector I-12 apartment project. “CDA is sitting on the file, knowing approving it is wrong and whatever it has done so far is due to pressure of the past government,” Cheema said.
Officials of the Housing and Works Ministry replying to the questions of the committee said that no building of the Sector I-12 PHA Apartments project was located on a nullah.
All buildings of the project comprising 2,400 apartments were on firm strata at varying depth ranging from 20 to 30 feet from natural surface level (NSL). They said that all contractors except Maksons were doing their work and had no issues with the project. However, the CDA had some reservations over the issuance of necessary NOC for the project.
The committee decided to summon the CDA chairman in its next meeting to have briefing over the issues of PHA Apartments in Sector I-12.
Meanwhile on a question from committee member MNA Agha Rafi, the housing and works minister said he and a team from the ministry will visit Karachi for holding talks with all stakeholders including the political figures from the MQM, PPPP and PTI, to settle the long outstanding disputes of Pakistan Quarters and government societies in Karachi.
Over the past many decades heirs of federal government employees have taken up permanent residence at government housings, which otherwise have to be vacated after retirement or death of the said employee.
The committee urged for early settlement of the said disputes.
On the issues of non-release of funds for the approved Public Sector Development Projects, the committee directed that the secretaries of the ministries of Housing and Works and the Planning and Development should hold a meeting and resolve the issues at the earliest.
Regarding non-release of funds under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Programme to the province of Sindh by the federal government, the committee was informed that the ministry was going to take up the matter to the ECC for its resolution. The Committee urged that the release in question be made by the Government in the lager public interest.
The committee also decided to summon Public Works Department Chief Engineer Nadeem Akhtar Sheikh in the next meeting to explain his position in connection with the incident occurred with a family of Quetta at Qasr-e-Naz Karachi.
The meeting was attended by Mehboob Shah, Anwar Taj, Malik Karamat Ali Khokhar, Chaudhry Javed Iqbal Warriach, Wajiha Akram, Iqbal Muhammad Ali Khan, Chaudhry Abid Raza, Syed Iftikharul Hassan, Tahira Aurangzeb, Abid Hussain Bhayo, Jam Abdul Karim Bijar and Syed Agha Rafiullah. The senior officers of Ministry of Housing and Works, Federal Government Employees Housing Authority, PHA Foundation, Pak-PWD, Estate Office and Ministries of Planning and Development and Law and Justice were also present at the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2019.