Despite reservations from the Senate bodies and possible issues with the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the housing ministry seems adamant to launch its “own projects”.
A high-level committee has been constituted comprising officials of Ministry of Housing and Works to shortlist the firms for construction of a housing colony at Kurri Road near CDA’s newly launched housing scheme Park Enclave.
“Interestingly, the area lies in Zone-4, where construction was banned until recently, and a scam worth billions had emerged with the same ministry,” said an official, asking not to be named.
Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) had invited proposals earlier for pre-qualification of architects for this purpose. More than 15 companies submitted their proposals; the scrutiny committee shortlisted five companies for designing the residential colony.
The shortlisted companies were then invited to give presentations at a meeting held in the housing ministry. The meeting was chaired by the Federal Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, while Secretary for Housing and Works Kamran Lashari, Joint Secretary MB Awan and other officials from the ministry and PHA attended the meeting.
Federal Minister for Housing and Works Faisal Saleh Hayat constituted a high-level committee to recommend the selection of the best of the five firms keeping in view their performance and respective rates. Hayat said that the housing ministry is committed to keep the prices of the proposed houses at competitive levels with respect to existing markets rates. The minister asked the PHA to equip the houses with all modern facilities.
However, the Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works had recently expressed its concern over the housing ministry’s projects. The committee expressed “serious reservations” over the projects and decided to constitute sub-committees to look into the schemes initiated for the federal government employees and the general public.
Furthermore, the committee decided on Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo would be the convener for the PHA housing schemes in Balochistan, with Senator Dr Saeeda Iqbal the convener of the PHA Housing Schemes at Kurri Road and I-16/3 and Abdul Khaliq Pirzada for Federal Government Housing Foundation Scheme at Bhara Kahu and Kurri Road.
The Bhara Kahu housing scheme case is currently pending before the Supreme Court. A senior official of PHA also gave a detailed briefing to the committee on the ongoing schemes in different parts of the country.
The committee was informed about some irregularities that had taken place in construction of the colonies of the federal employees. The committee expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that the PHA workers had received instalments from the government despite several incomplete housing schemes.
The PHA officials said that housing ministry initiated its project on state land and informed the committee that it had mainly taken land from the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
An official on condition of anonymity said, “Such schemes have put [the ministry’s] reputation in doubt, and with the Park Enclave recently launched some issues are bound to emerge between the housing ministry and the CDA.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.