ISLAMABAD: The public welfare Ladies Club Project still remains to be unfinished for women of the capital however, Capital Development Authority (CDA) seems to have no interest in it despite having spent millions of rupees on it.

Work on construction of the Ladies Club in sector G-10 was started in 2007 and was abandoned in 2010 after the structure and civil work was finished on it, but since then, no step was taken for finishing of the work to make it functional for public.

The project was launched by CDA in 2007 and like this project, apparently due to poor planning, several other projects that include Shakarparian Cultural Complex, Art and Craft Village and F-9 Citizens Club could not be completed on time.

However last year, CDA carried out remaining work on construction of the club, where the civic agency will set up Gandhara Heritage and Culture Centre, whenever the building will be vacated by health authorities. Currently, the Covid-19 vaccination centre has been set up in the building of the F-9 Club.

According to a working paper of CDA, inordinate delay of 11 years has already occurred and financial resources worth around Rs300 million, already incurred on this project, need to be salvaged. Work on the project should immediately start in the greater interest of CDA as well as residents of Islamabad.

It added that design of the club building includes two wedding halls, a mini cinema, a swimming pool, coffee shops, restaurants, a library, a squash court, tennis court, a gym and so on.

Initially, contract of the project was awarded against Rs182.8 million and work was started in January 2007 but it then suspended a month and a half later. The building was redesigned by the consultant.

Two additional basement floors were added to the original plan and the cost was revised to Rs335.7m, however, finishing touches inside the structure were halted due to so-called financial constraints in 2010. Still there is no progress.

Last year, the issue was taken up in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which directed the CDA to revive the project and the CDA agreed before the committee that it would take steps to make the said building functional, but no action was taken.

CDA officials said that millions of rupees had already been spent on construction work while the building stands on a plot worth billions of rupees. “Keeping this project abandoned for years is negligence which warrants proper inquiry to fix responsibility. CDA should carry out finishing work as soon as possible to bring this building in public use,” said an official of CDA, adding that steps should also be taken for revival of Shakarparian Cultural Complex and Art and Craft Village, which are spread on a large piece of valuable land.

When contacted, CDA’s spokesperson Syed Asif Raza said that management of the civic agency would look into this issue. “We will check what reasons are behind such a long delay, as you are mentioning, and we will ensure that there should be no waste of public funds,” he said.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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