ISLAMABAD: The commission formed by the government for the revision of Islamabad’s master plan on Monday finalised the terms of reference for hiring a consultant to conduct around 20 studies.

In its meeting at the Capital Development Authority (CDA) headquarters, with the civic agency’s chairman Amir Ali Ahmed in the chair, the commission finalised documents for the request for proposal (RFP) for hiring a consultant for reviewing the master plan.

The meeting held a detailed discussion on the 70-page report prepared by a subcommittee headed by commission member Asad Mehboob Kayani, after which it finalised the RFP.

The CDA chairman told Dawn that after several meetings, the commission made a breakthrough on Monday and approved the RFP.

“The initial homework has been completed and soon we will seek the services of a consultant,” he said.

Consultant will be given 120 days to complete more than 20 studies

CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said that during the meeting, Environment Protection Agency director general presented an environmental atlas for Islamabad, which showed that built-up areas have increased so there has been some increase in green cover from 1990 to 2016.

A subcommittee headed by Ayub Qutub has formulated around eight major studies with 23 sub-studied required from consultants. These studies also set the parameters for consultants.

It was decided that Suparco will assist CDA in monitoring urban sprawl, encroachment and built-up-property.

CDA will develop a portal, linked with the CDA website, to update citizens regarding the review of the master plan and seeking their proposals.

A participant of the meeting said that other than technical work, the consultant will be conducting studies relating to socio-economic issues, environment, transportation, water resources, revenue generation models, unauthorised slums, vertical construction, unauthorised construction, smart and sustainable city, culture heritage preservation, development and future needs and sanitation etc.

He said the consultant will share a preliminary report within 60 days, which will be presented to the federal government for input. The source said that overall, the consultant will be given 120 days to complete their studies, subject to approval by the federal government.

Asked about the deadline of six months given to the commission by the federal government, he said: “We will try to make the deadline, but the master plan for the 58-year-old city is being reviewed for the first time and for the next two decades, which is not an easy task. The extension of the deadline by a few months does not matter.”

Another participant, said that as per RFP, a consultant with rich experience, preferably international exposure will be hired. Asked about engaging services of the Greek firm, Doxiadis, which had prepared Islamabad’s master plan in 1959-60, he said Doxiadis Associates will be welcome if will show interest in the bidding process.

He said the firm had prepared one of the best master plans for Islamabad, the spirit of which was ruined by successive CDA managements so that except for a few sectors, the city presents a very different picture.

The commission also decided that in next two weeks, a public hearing will be called to take public’s input before making revision of master plan.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019