IIA’s construction cost being probed, senators told

Updated 24 Sep 2020

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A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation, chaired by Senator Mushahidullah Khan, took up various matters including alleged corruption in the IIA project and the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) in this regard. — File photo
A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation, chaired by Senator Mushahidullah Khan, took up various matters including alleged corruption in the IIA project and the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) in this regard. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Various inquiries into the Rs81 billion construction cost of Islamabad International Airport (IIA) are underway, a parliamentary committee was told on Wednesday.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation, chaired by Senator Mushahidullah Khan, took up various matters including alleged corruption in the IIA project and the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) in this regard.

Other items on the agenda pertained to the collection of various kinds of taxes on air tickets and the harassment of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) CEOs and special assistants, referred by the Senate chairman. The Voluntary Separation Scheme was also reviewed in detail.

The matter of corruption in the IIA project was raised by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi in the Senate in November 2018. He had demanded that a JIT be formed.

The meeting learnt that the construction of the airport was carried out under numerous packages, for which various contractors were engaged.

Civil Aviation Secretary Hassan Nasir Jamy said that Rs94bn have been paid for the IIA project, and inquiries are being carried out regarding packages worth Rs81bn.

Senator Noman Wazir Khattak said the taxi track has been made into a runway.

“According to the law, the distance between two runways should be four to 4.5 kilometres. But the distance between the runways at the new airport is not even 400 metres, which is not only dangerous but has cost billions of rupees to the national exchequer,” he said. The committee decided that the demand to form a JIT should be taken up with the prime minister.

The Voluntary Separation Scheme for PIA employees was also reviewed in detail. The senators were told that the scheme was introduced because of additional staff in the organisation. It is a voluntary scheme for PIA’s 14,000-plus employees.

PIA has 29 aircraft, 14,5000 employees and 500 employees per aircraft, which is a major reason for the company’s deficit, they were informed. The voluntary scheme will cost Rs12.9bn for 3,200 employees and a difference of Rs4.2bn on annual salaries.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020