ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to cancel a tender notice that invited companies to offer bids for the construction of new bird cages for parrots in Aiwan-i-Sadr at the cost of Rs2 million.
The tender remained a news item in social media, which attracted the president’s attention.
According to a statement issued late Thursday night, the President House spokeperson, while reacting to reports carried in a section of media, said President Dr Arif Alvi had taken serious notice on the publication of the tender notice.
CDA’s advertisement had sought tender from reputable companies registered with the Pakistan Engineering Council, Income Tax Department
“The president has ordered immediate withdrawal of the said tender notice and initiation of inquiry. The tender notice has been released without obtaining approval from the competent authority,” the spokesperson added.
Two days after announcing an austerity-oriented budget, the capital’s civic authority had floated a Rs2 million tender for birdcages in the Presidency.
CDA deputy director (civil) at Aiwan-i-Sadr Mohammad Farooq Azam floated the tender through advertisements in newspapers, and on the websites of the CDA and the Pakistan Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA).
Soon after assuming power, the PTI government sold eight buffaloes belonging to the Prime Minister’s House for Rs2.3m, as part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s austerity drive to cut down government expenditure, which he believed would urge the nation to follow suit.
The CDA’s advertisement seeks tender from reputable companies registered with the Pakistan Engineering Council and the Income Tax Department for the construction of new cages for macau parrots in the zoo area of the President House, at a cost of Rs1.95m.
Macaus are large yellow, red and blue parrots from Central and South America.
They are a member of the large group of neotropical parrots called macaws, native to humid evergreen forests of Central and South America.
The mini zoo in the Presidency was established in 2008 on orders of the then president, Asif Ali Zardari, who is said to be fond of animals.
It continued while Mamnoon Hussain was president as well.
Food for the animals housed at the zoo is brought from Marghazar Zoo.
A large portion of the food bought for Marghazar Zoo is reportedly taken to the zoos at the Presidency and the Prime Minister’s House, which do not spend money on their zoos out of their own budgets but instead put the burden on the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI).
Caretakers and veterinarians at the main zoo are also deployed to look after the animals at the other two zoos, and they are also paid for by the MCI.
It is also said that rare and expensive animals from Marghazar Zoo were transferred to the small zoo at the Presidency.
Marghazar Zoo just has a pair of lions, a brown bear, an elephant, zebras and deer as the main attractions, and charges an entry fee of just Rs20 per person.
When contacted, CDA Deputy Director Public Relations Malik Saleem confirmed that the authority had floated the tender for cages for parrots and other animals at the Presidency’s zoo.
He expressed the hope that the cost will be reduced, as contractors offer lower construction costs than those mentioned in advertisements.
Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2019