PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Development Authority has turned the newly-built food street in Hayatabad area into a sasta bazaar due to the disinterest of the city’s major restaurants.
The officials blamed it on poor planning on part of the PDA, saying the place has no gas supply.
They told Dawn that the food street was established two years ago at the commercial land of Phase-VI area at a cost of Rs32 million. The officials said the place had 52 shops but no restaurant showed interest in getting them due to unavailability of gas.
They said the estimated cost of the construction was Rs62 million, while its contract was given away to the Frontier Works Organisation without bidding on the directives of the ‘high-ups’.
The officials said the PDA paid only Rs32 million to the FWO over poor quality of work, especially in the parking area and shop roofs.
Officials blame gas unavailability for disinterest of restaurant owners
They said the FWO had used single-layer fibreglass instead of the PDA’s insistence to use double layered of fibreglass.
The officials said work was completed in 2016 and advertisements were placed seven times in newspapers for the award of the food street contract but no suitable bidder turned up chiefly due to unavailability of gas.
They wondered how a food street could function without gas supply.
“The Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited Company has stopped the issuance of new commercial connections and therefore, the food street has no gas supply,” an official insisted.
He added that the PDA took up the issue with the SNGPL many times, but to no avail.
The official said no one at the PDA was aware of the commercial gas connection ban at the time of the food street planning and that the authorities learned about it only after work was almost complete.
The officials said the place was mentioned in the master plan for the purpose.
When contacted, PDA director (finance and estate management) Shahid Kareem confirmed the change of the Hayatabad food street’s status to the sasta bazaar’s.
“We arranged bidding for the food street seven times but didn’t get an acceptable bid,” he said.
The director said the situation had prompted the PDA to give away the food street to a contractor to put up a sasta bazaar on the monthly payment of Rs0.8 million.
He said the area selected for the food street didn’t serve the purpose.
“As the single-layer fibreglass is unable to protect shopkeepers from the sunlight, the fibreglass roofs of shops are being removed on the condition set by the contractor. The construction of cement roofs is under way,” he said.
Mr Kareem said the fibreglass roofs would be used somewhere else.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2018