KOHAT: The late Ahmed Faraz family park, which has been awaiting completion since 2014, may finally seen resumption of work as the deputy commissioner has ordered the executing agency to prepare a new PC-I and restart work immediately.
The park to be completed at a cost of Rs58 million is located near Jarma on the old Indus Highway/University Road.
The park’s ground breaking was performed by then governor Lt-Gen retried Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah and Syed Masud Kausar, the brother of late Ahmed Faraz, in 2013. An area of 230 kanals was allocated for it and it was to be completed in one year.
Project launched in 2013 was to be completed in one year
Deputy commissioner Matiullah Khan after visiting the site on Monday, expressed anguish over the delay and asked the communication and works department to prepare its new PC-1 and restart work without delay.
An inquiry was ordered into alleged embezzlement of funds in the project in 2018, but it was never made public, with the officials making lame excuses that the contractor had suffered huge losses.
It merits a mention here that despite transfer of the project from the TMA to the C&W department in 2017 for resumption of work, its construction remains suspended till date. The project was transferred to C&W department after TMA failed to complete the work awarded to it in 2014 due to financial discrepancies.
At the start of the project, the contractor managed only to establish a guard room and a couple of other buildings and then ran away leaving the work incomplete.
As the site was rocky and the contractor had no drilling machinery the work remained suspended for years. Eventually, the contractor was blacklisted and about six inquiries were ordered. However, the contractor had been returned the security money in spite of being blacklisted.
The purpose of the inquiries was to establish the fact that why was a contractor awarded the project who was not capable of doing it. Laal Ghaffar, a former official of the TMA’s engineering branch, told Dawn on contact that he had been transferred to Bannu and had forgotten the details and information about the park.
However, Nasir Khan, an SDO in TMA, said Mr Ghaffar was still in Kohat and was trying to hide his irresponsible role in construction of the park.
Another official, who is now serving in Gumbat TMA, told Dawn on condition of anonymity that rampant corruption in the project had resulted in suspension of work on the park. He disclosed that the concerned officials were so influential that they were saved in the inquiries because they had distributed funds among themselves.
Senator Shibli Faraz, the son of late poet, had on several occasions criticised the authorities for selecting a deserted place for construction of the park on a mountain miles away from the city.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2019