CDA’s budget priorities: Let’s put our houses in order, first

Top officials of the spend millions of rupees on their houses while the salaries of low-grade staff remain unpaid.


Obaid Abbasi March 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Despite its inability to cover salaries for lower-grade staff, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) seems to have no problem spending millions to upgrade top officials’ residences.


After taking charge on December 9 last year, Chairman Engineer Farkhand Iqbal claimed that he has reduced unnecessary expenditure to overcome the financial crunch, yet, it has been learnt that Rs3.6 million have already been spent on beautifying his official house in Sector F-6/3.

Besides the chairman, sources told The Express Tribune that other top officials have spent millions of rupees on their official residences. This includes the chairman’s staff officer Abdul Rauf Khan, whose official abode underwent a Rs3.3 million makeover, in addition to Rs300,000 spent on the lawn of the same house.

Similarly, CDA Director Administration Syed Haseen Raza Zaidi, a close relative of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, has spent Rs2.8 million on his official residence. He was previously serving in National Assembly (NA) Secretariat.

Moreover, an official revealed that the CDA chief is using nine official vehicles, despite a government restriction on the use of more than one official vehicle by any grade-20 government functionary. He also said that Iqbal’s son is responsible for damaging two official vehicles in accidents. The civic body allegedly paid claims of around Rs2.9 million on the repair of one of the cars, a Toyota Corolla (ICT-001).

CDA members have also shown fondness for breaking this restriction, with Engineering Member Sanaullah Aman allegedly using four official vehicles, Finance Member Javed Jahangir using three, and two other members who are believed to be using three vehicles.

“I am worried by the knowledge that as the top civic body hinges on collapse, these officers are wasting millions on unnecessary expenditure,’’ said an official requesting anonymity.

Zaidi denied spending as much as Rs2.8 million on his official residence, but admitted that a handsome amount was spent on renovating his house after he joined the CDA.

“It is the right of every official to spend some money on his house for renovation if needed,’’ he added.

Similarly, Abdul Rauf Khan admitted to spending a handsome amount on his official residence, but denied spending Rs300,000 on his lawn.

“I think there is no harm on it, old building should be renovated and I have spent all that money on it because the building is old,’’ he said.

When approached for comments, Member Engineering Sanaullah Aman, denied using four official vehicles, but outrightly admitted to violating the rules anyway. “Every member can use two official vehicles, and I am using only two cars,” he said.

Meanwhile, the CDA chief said that he had spent only Rs0.3 million on his house, adding that he is “only using two official vehicles” and the rest are privately owned, citing his extensive land holdings.

He also denied that his son had damaged any official vehicle, saying that he uses a private car.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2012.

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