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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration has requested the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to expedite the process of approving building design of much delayed project of the Islamabad Model Prison to be set up in sector H-16.

Sources in ICT said Chief Commissioner Islamabad Aftab Akbar Durrani sent a letter in this regard to the Chairman CDA Usman Akhtar Bajwa on April 3.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has recently inaugurated the model prison project. The federal capital, which has its own police and judicial system, lacks prison, and Islamabad based prisoners are being kept in Adiala jail.

The Chief Commissioner has been taking steps to start the project early and in his letter, he requested CDA Chairman for early approval of drawing of the model prison to meet the timeline of the project.

Spread over 90 acres in Sector H-16, the Islamabad Model Prison, which is expected to cost the taxpayers Rs3.9 billion, will accommodate around 2,000 prisoners.

The commissioner letter stated that the project was conceived in 2011 on the direction of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. At the outset, ICT Administration paid Rs 720 million to CDA as land acquisition charges, and formal allotment letter was issued by CDA in 2013.

Accordingly, the PC-I of the project was approved by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) in 2016. The estimated cost of the project was Rs3928.523 million.

In order to review the progress on the project, a committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Chief Justice of Federal Shariat Court, the letter said.

It further said that a sub-committee was also constituted, which is chaired by Registrar Islamabad High Court on regular basis.

“ The Pak PWD submitted the design of the prison to Design Vetting Committee of CDA on 14-04-2015, which are pending for approval,” read the letter.

It also said that of late, it has been pointed out that cost of the land amounting to Rs490.050 million is required to be paid by ICT, without which design of the project could not be approved[by CDA].

“In consideration of sensitivity of the matter, it was taken up with minister for interior and a separate PC-1 for payment of cost of land amounting to Rs460.050 million has been prepared. The same has also been included in PSDP 2018-19. This office has already assured that premium shall be paid to the CDA in next financial year,” the letter said. When contacted, director building control Faisal Naeem said there was no delay on part of building control section in approval of drawings. “Actually, there was pending amount on part of ICT that led delay in approval of drawings as clearance certificate form estate wing of CDA is prerequisite for approval of drawings,” he said and added that he had no idea whether or not the Chief Commissioner had written a letter to the CDA. “I will follow, whatever decision my bosses will take in the light of letter in question,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2018