Arid university: After many hitches, three-story structure finally built

Varsity says contractor stopped work twice for no reason, case still pending in court.

Fawad Ali April 04, 2014
Varsity says contractor stopped work twice for no reason, case still pending in court. PHOTO: FILE


Failure to complete projects in time and within the approved budget is a recurring theme in development activities in Pakistan, and Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University (AAU), Rawalpindi is home to an example.

Construction work for the AAU Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, a three-storey building
with floor area of 92,000 square feet, was awarded to two companies at an estimated cost of Rs147 million in 2007.

It was supposed to be completed by 2009, but one of the contractors stopped working without any providing any notice to the executing agency — the university.

After several months, the same company expressed willingness to restart work and the university management granted it a three-month deadline extension.

But after completing around 60 per cent of the work, the company stopped work again. In order to complete the building, the university awarded the project to another contractor. In the meanwhile, the former company protested over the development.

“The company moved the court against us,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity. Though the project has been completed, the case is still pending in the court.

“Due to the delay, not only it our time was wasted, but the cost of the project almost doubled as well,” said the official.

He said the project cost the government Rs218 million and was completed after four years of delays.

Arid Agriculture University Vice Chancellor Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad said the cost escalation was due to the increase in prices of raw materials.

“An audit team declared the project totally transparent after comparing the total cost with the price increase in the market,” said the VC.

No response was received from the contractor despite repeated telephone calls to the company’s office numbers.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2014.


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