Park Enclave: Senators grill city managers for delaying project

Chair recommends civic agency ignore FIA recommendations.


Danish Hussain January 08, 2014
Senators grill city managers for delaying project. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:


A technical committee of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Tuesday approved in principle the Rs3.85 billion PC-I for Park Enclave.


The document now requires the final approval of the CDA Development Working Party (DWP).

“Hopefully, the CDA-DWP will be meeting in next week,” CDA Chairman Maroof Afzal informed a senate panel on Tuesday.

Meetings between the CDA’s technical committee and the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat and Capital Administration and Development were held on Tuesday.

During a meeting of the technical committee, while approving in principle the PC-I document, the CDA chairman directed the officials to incorporate the construction rates in line with the NHA schedule 2011 rather than the 2009 version in a bid to make the document compatible.

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The committee also approved the construction of a Rs190 million cardiac centre at the CDA Hospital. The amount includes cost of machinery, other allied equipment, staff salaries and other benefits. The up-gradation of the existing operation theatre at the hospital was also approved.

Later, during the Senate committee meeting, the CDA chairman did not give the completion date for the project, saying that once approved by the CDA-DWP, under Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, the tendering and bidding process should be completed in around six weeks, after which the development work will be initiated.

However, an official of the Engineering Wing asking not to be named said the authority was planning to set December 15, 2015 as the completion date for the project. “If things are fast-tracked, we will be able to hand over possession of plots to allottees by January 2015,” he said.

Shockingly, Committee Chairperson Kalsoom Perveen suggested the CDA should ignore complaints demanding fresh balloting of plots at the Park Enclave, which a Federal Investigation Agency had recommended after finding that the ‘random’ balloting had been rigged to ensure that choice plots such as those on corners and near major roads went to politicians, journalists, and other bigwigs, while plots near a polluted stream went to ‘regular’ bidders.

“It will generate unnecessary litigation. The allottees who have been allotted corner plots will move the courts if the CDA decided to hold fresh balloting,” Perveen said, adding that it would hinder work on the already delayed project.

Looking at the legal matters of the authority, the committee asked for a comprehensive and up-to-date report on the performance of its legal wing. “The CDA should submit suggestions on how to revamp and strengthen its legal wing,” Senator Mushahidullah Khan said.

The authority informed that around 4,000 cases are pending in different courts. Out of those, over 3,600 cases are with civil courts, around 100 with the Islamabad High Court and nearly 50 with the apex court.

It also informed that there are currently 24 lawyers in the CDA Legal Wing, while several vacancies for law officers still exist. Due to this, private lawyers are often hired and are paid between Rs25,000 and Rs400,000 per case.

Senator Sughra Imam asked the authority to submit a detailed report over the performance of the off-staff lawyers it had hired. She said strengthening the law wing would mean bringing down the number of cases in the courts.

The chair also asked for expediting work at Kuri Model Village. “The FIA has already cleared a list of 1,800 people affected by the model village and they will be accommodated at the earliest,” Perveen said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2014.

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