The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has abandoned plans to reinitiate development of Sector I-15, which has been stalled for a number of years.
Officials at the civic agency, however, failed to give any plausible reasons for the scrapping of the plan, saying only that the incumbent CDA chairman was not interested in carrying out work on the sector for the time being.
“The planning wing had restructured the sector in a bid to make it more convenient for the general public, but now we have been told that the idea has been scrapped,” said a senior official in the CDA.
Under the Islamabad city master plan, Sector I-15 — spread over 746 acres and located in Zone-I — was supposed to be developed as residential sector for low income groups.
In the original land use plan, the CDA was to create some 13,685 housing units including 5,685 plots of different sizes and 8,000 apartments, with the contract for infrastructure development awarded to Al-Khan in 2006 on a design-cum-construction basis.
After the contractor defaulted, the contract was rescinded. Later, a new bid was invited from international contracting firms and the Chinese firm CMEC quoted a price of Rs54 billion against the CDA’s estimated cost of Rs14 billion.
Unsurprisingly, the bid was rejected due to cost considerations.
During former president Asif Zardari’s visit to China in June 2012, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the CDA and a consortium of CMEC and CRFG over the development of Sector I-15.
However, the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and federal planning and finance divisions objected to the MoU and it expired in December 2012.
Swiftly changing tides
Less than five months back, the CDA Board dumped its plans to build flats and went with the creation of more plots instead.
By discarding the planned flats, the CDA enhanced the number of plots — measuring 138 square yards — from 3,454 to 7,738.
The revised land use analysis show residential units will be constructed on 245.87 acres (42 per cent of the total sector area), at the main market on 37.66 acres, parks and playgrounds on 68.32 acres, shopping centres on 23.9 acres, educational institutions on 39.86 acres, sewerage treatment plant on 7.4 acres and roads on 299.5 acres.
Sources said that after scrapping of the plan, the CDA has refunded almost 4,000 claimants who had deposited money against 8,000 flats.
“If carried out, the revised infrastructure design would have reduced the development cost of the sector
by approximately Rs3.5 billion,” said a planning wing official.
While making the new plan, the CDA also identified some additional 200 commercial plots in the centre with a view to sell them to generate money for the developmental of the sector.
The authority had also decided to impose development charges of Rs150,000 per plot on the previously allotted plots in three equal allotments.
The only work completed so far is a dual carriageway for the major road in the sector and a connecting bridge.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2013.