ISLAMABAD, Nov 16: Created by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in the frenzy of its development projects seven years ago, the Project Management Office (PMO) cuts a sorry figure today.

It was supposed to be “infallible and impeccably honest” in serving both the government and the corporate sectors, but is not seen to have stood up to the ideals. The unkindest cut is that severest criticism comes from the sister departments of CDA.

“Many of the projects PMO managed were haunted by controversy until the day completed, or landed the CDA in courts, blocking some Rs10 billion of the CDA,” a senior officer of the finance department lamented to Dawn.

His colleague from the administration department reeled out the list of projects he thought the PMO mismanaged: the Rs1.28 billion Citizens Club that the PMO located in F-9 Park without consulting the planning division; the Rs1.2 billion Cultural Complex at Shakarparian; the Rs700 million Ladies Club, with a marriage hall in G-10; the Rs2 billion Arts and Craft Village; the Rs400 million Mini Sports Complexes; the Rs50 million Gyms and Libraries in different sectors; the Centaurus Tower; the Grand Hyatt Hotel; and the Rs450 million unfinished renovation of CDA headquarters.

In 2010, the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of commercial activity in a public park, and the Citizens Club is yet to open.

“Construction was halted and when resumed the cost of the project had escalated, with the CDA losing money than gaining any,” noted an accounting official.

Similarly the Cultural Complex project at Shakarparia was stuck, he added. Started in 2007 and spread over 25 acres, the complex was to provide a 3500-seat auditorium, an amphitheatre, piazza, conference hall, mosque, restaurants, cinema and gazebo.“It reflected bad planning as Shakarparian already had Lok Virsa cultural complex, a CDA open theatre and had approved an Arts & Crafts Village in close proximity,” he said.

Then there also existed the Pakistan National Council of Arts Auditorium and the National Art Gallery in sector F-5 with enough space to meet the cultural needs of the city.

“It was bad investment. The unfinished project has brought no financial value to the CDA and in fact added to its financial problems,” said the disgusted-looking accounts officer.

His colleague reminded that Rs700 million stuck in the unfinished Women's Cultural Complex. “And we have no return on it,” he said.

Bad planning also marred the Mini Sports Complexes and Libraries and Gyms projects in different sectors. Some sports grounds were equipped with heavy duty lights which were not needed, wasting money in the name of providing modern sports facilities.

As for the libraries and gyms, a PMO source conceded that they were neither handed over to the communities they were meant for nor utilised otherwise for revenue generation for CDA.

An official of the treasury wing of CDA claimed that “shady clauses” existed in the sale deeds of plots sold to Centaurus and Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Proceeds of the sale are stuck since one is asking for utility services and the other is asking for going higher,” he said.

But a CDA spokesman contested the claim. “It's not that way.

In fact they gone into litigation and our legal wing is trying to resolve the issues,” he said.

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