ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to strip the Capital Development Authority (CDA) of various responsibilities and hand them over to federal ministries under a reforms programme.

The cabinet, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, has even decided to give the CDA’s Road Directorate to the National Highway Authority (NHA), which comes under the Ministry of Communication. The Ministry of Interior has been told to transfer this directorate to the communications ministry.

In addition, the CDA has been asked not to develop new residential sectors and instead focus on developing stalled ones.

An official letter from the Cabinet Division’s Institutional Reforms Cell in the Prime Minister Office dated June 4 that is available with Dawn stated that Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Husain presented a report to the cabinet on restructuring the CDA on Nov 5, 2019.

The cabinet approved the recommendations therein and advised the Interior Division to prepare an action plan for them.

Road and MPO directorates would be among those handed over to NHA, CDA Hospital would go to NHS ministry, model school to federal education ministry

The letter, which is addressed to the interior secretary, cabinet secretary and CDA chairman, said the Interior Division had furnished a report on the implementation status of the recommendations approved by the cabinet to the Institutional Reforms Cell, but the report does not include certain recommendations approved by the cabinet as contained in the report presented by Dr Husain.

The letter asked the Interior Division to prepare and furnish the action plan as approved by the cabinet.

It added that it was decided in the aforementioned cabinet meeting that the CDA Hospital and Health Services Directorate should be transferred to the Ministry of National Health Services while the CDA Model School should be transferred to the Ministry of Federal Education.

The Sports and Culture Directorate would be transferred to the Ministry of Interprovincial Coordination and the Road Directorate, Machinery Pool Organisation (MPO), Special Projects and Geological Lab would be transferred to the NHA.

The project directorates for the National Police Academy, Parliament Lodges, Electrical and Mechanical Development, Aiwan-i-Sadr, Ministers’ Enclave and Federal Government Residences and Lodges would be transferred to a dedicated cell under the Ministry of Housing and Works.

The letter said that the primary responsibility of the CDA should be updating and implementing the capital’s master plan, setting standards and enforcing building control, regulating private housing societies and monitoring and enforcing zoning laws.

“A master plan commission has been formed by the [prime minister] and its recommendations should be implemented,” the letter said.

It also said that development projects under the Public Sector Development Programme should be planned and executed by the relevant ministries and not the CDA.

“Maintenance, repairs and operations of all federal offices and residential buildings in Islamabad is an agency function performed on behalf of the federal government should be reverted to it. Federal government provides a maintenance grant of Rs 2.1 billion annually to CDA,” it stated, adding that the CDA should no longer operate any hospitals, laboratories or schools, as it has neither the capacity nor the expertise to do so.

The letter also highlighted issues between the CDA and the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), stating that many CDA directorates and their staff have been transferred to the MCI but the CDA is still paying their salaries.

The letter said the MCI does not have any financial resources with which to pay 11,000 employees, adding that “this is a serious issue that needs to be resolved quickly.”

The CDA should bifurcate its finance and human resources directorates between the MCI, and it has also been decided that the Local Government (LG) Board would finalise HR and financial rules for the MCI, it said.

“Once rules are notified the administrative powers of posting and transfer will be exercised by the LG Board,” it said, and added that CDA staffers working for the MCI on deputation would be given the choice to be absorbed into the MCI on the same terms and conditions they had in the CDA or to revert to the CDA for placement in a surplus pool that would extinguish itself through a process of attrition and new recruitment by the MCI.

The MCI has to generate its own income and collect revenue, and the collection of taxes and levies such as property tax, tools and users charges would no longer be assigned to the CDA since the MCI is the appropriate body for tax collection.

The letter also discussed the introduction of a new local government system and law for the capital, under which the CDA would be transferred from the interior ministry to become part of the proposed metropolitan government along the same lines as Punjab, where the Lahore Development Authority and other services and civic agencies were placed under the Metropolitan Corporation of Lahore.

CDA officials Dawn spoke to expressed concerns regarding the proposed transfer of the road and MPO directorates from the CDA to the NHA, saying these were illogical. They said that the NHA is a large, national organisation that will not have the time to carry out the capital’s small road projects and so on.

They added that the hospital and school are meant for CDA employees, and so should remain with the authority. As the CDA functions under the CDA Ordinance 1960, they also said that its functions could not be curtailed without amending the ordinance.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2020

Opinion

Rule by law

Rule by law

‘The rule of law’ is being weaponised, taking on whatever meaning that fits the political objectives of those invoking it.

Editorial

Isfahan strikes
20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

THE Iran-Israel shadow war has very much come out into the open. Tel Aviv had been targeting Tehran’s assets for...
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...
X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...