ISLAMABAD: The city managers have received bids from four consortiums of international town planning firms for the revision of Islamabad’s master plan.
Sources in the CDA said after evaluation the financial bids would be opened in about a month to award the contract to the lowest bidder.
The master plan was prepared in 1960 and supposed to be revised after every 20 years. However, successive governments did not make proper revisions in accordance with the city’s emerging needs.
However, time and again selective changes were made by different governments to the master plan but without any input from professional consultants. The sources said so far over 40 changes have been made to the master plan.
“PC-1 is worth around Rs600 million but after opening the financial bids we will see what rate the companies have offered,” said an official of the CDA. He said the four consortiums have representatives of 11 companies.
After a considerable delay in hiring a consultant firm, the CDA had sought applications from reputed firms in September this year. The PTI government had formed a commission in Dec 2018 to revise the master plan.
In October 2019, the federal cabinet headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved an interim report prepared by the commission and directed for proper revision through a consultant. The CDA then got the Request for Proposal (RFP) documents vetted by Planning Commission as directed by the cabinet, a step which took many months before calling bids from international firms.
CDA officials said Islamabad is a fast growing city and currently it has a population of over 2.2 million but the civic agency has been running the city in accordance with the existing master plan developed by Greek Firm — Doxiadis Associates in 1960.
“After 60 years, this city has saw many changes and it requires revision and changes to the master plan for better solutions to chronic problems,” said an official of the CDA, adding the selective changes made to the master plan ignoring the proper revision had ended up in the poor planning and mushroom growth of the unauthorised construction, particularly in the rural areas of the capital. He said there were dozens of slums in the city area as well.
After holding a series of meetings, the commission in its interim report had addressed some issues such as bylaws of commercial buildings and left a comprehensive revision of the city’s blueprint to the consultant, which would be hired soon after the financial bids are opened.
Thousands of people have built homes and other structures in parts of the capital where construction was not allowed under the original master plan. The CDA, which is responsible for regulating buildings all over the capital, did not attempt to halt the unauthorised construction beyond the planned sectors that resulted in the mushroom growth of the unauthorised buildings.
The consultant firm will also come up with a solution to the problem besides proposing a solution to high-rise buildings constructed in non-permissible areas.
“The response of international firms is very good. Four consortiums have submitted their bids and after one month we will open the financial bids to award contract to the lowest bidder,” said a senior officer of the CDA. He said the revision of master plan is a gigantic task and is likely to take around two years for completion.
The officer said in the past two attempts were made for the revision of the master plan but without success. However, this time the government has been taking a keen interest in completing the revision.
“We are hopeful the much-needed revision of the master plan will be completed,” he said, adding the consultant will propose solutions to chronic issues such as unauthorised construction, slums, water issue, public transport, environment, roads, etc.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2020