ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has not executed the majority of development projects included in its budget for fiscal year 2018-19 and most of the projects only exist on file.

One of the projects the civic agency was to start in the ongoing fiscal year was for initiating development work in I-15 for which Rs1 billion was earmarked in the budget.

An amount of Rs100 million was set aside for the construction of service road south in Blue Area as well.

In the “exaggerated” budget, the CDA had allocated Rs500 million for the construction of 7th Avenue Intersection, Rs500 million were set aside for the project for the conduction of water from the Indus Water System and Rs100 million were earmarked for the much-needed, first ever proper landfill site as garbage is currently being dumped in the undeveloped residential sector of I-12.

In its budget document, CDA had also announced it will construct the Burma Bridge on the busy Lehtrar Road and set aside Rs100 million for it. Rs100 million were also set aside for the Shakarparian Culture Complex.

Only major project carried out in last three years was the expansion of Islamabad Expressway

Rs100 million were allocated in the 2018-19 budget for the construction of roads in the proposed Kuri Model Village.

Two other development projects – Margalla Avenue and the widening of I.J. Principal Road – were facing delays for various reasons.

I.J.P. Road is one of the busiest in the city and caters to inter-provincial traffic. The road is in dilapidated condition and also only has two lanes on each side, contrary to the general rules for principal roads, which are to have four lanes on each side.

Meanwhile, the development of many residential sectors is also pending including that of I-12, I-15, I-14, E-12, I-11, Kuri Model Village, D-13, E-13, G-12, H-13, C-14, C-15, Park Enclave-II etc.

CDA used to be one of the leading development agencies of the country and has conducted many development projects, particularly during the tenure of former chairman Kamran Lashari.

However, development work has declined the last few years and during the last three years, only the expansion of the Islamabad Highway from Zero Point to Koral and three interchanges were completed. The expansion of the remaining road from Koral to G.T Road is also facing delays as the project requires about Rs9 billion.

CDA falls under the interior ministry but manages funding for development projects through its own resources such as by selling commercial and residential plots.

However, it received funding from the federal government for this mega project.

The PML-N government had earmarked Rs7 billion in Public Sector Development Projects for this project, which the incumbent government decided to cut.

“We have failed in conducting the development projects in question but there are several reasons for this.

One of the reasons is that we have had four chairmen in the last four months.

Sheikh Anser Aziz was replaced by Usman Bajwa in December, who was replaced by Ishrat Ali.

Afzal Latif was then made chairman who went on a four month leave and we now have a new head, Amer Ali Ahmed,” a CDA engineer said.

He said the authority currently does not have a member planning and that the director general design is running that office on a temporary basis.

The member administration is on leave to attend a professional course while the member estate is on leave for Umrah.

“These are the administrative issues. We are also loaning money to the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad for its expenses which is badly impacting our own development projects,” the engineer said.

CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said the civic agency has been focusing on development projects.

“We have not failed in conducting development projects, the projects in question are on various stages. Some are in the tendering phase, some are in the design stage and for others, the PC-I is being made,” he said, adding that there are still two quarters in the ongoing fiscal year in which more progress will be made.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2019