ISLAMABAD: In a move that has raised many an eyebrow, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Tuesday kicked off construction work to install three ‘see-through gates’ to prevent the entry of possible protesters in the Red Zone without floating any tenders for the process.
Some officials in the CDA requesting anonymity questioned the move. They said how could a firm start construction work on the project without getting “assurances” and “favours” from the civic agency.
However, CDA Director Road Tahir Mahmood clarified that the work was started at Nadra Chowk through “internal” arrangements. He added that the “proper work would be started after the tendering process”.
Official says it is only initial work, proper work on project to start after tendering
The CDA is going to install ‘see-through’ entry gates at three locations – Nadra Chowk, D-Chowk, near Serena Hotel – ahead of a possible protest by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in the Red Zone later this month. The gates will remain open during normal days, but the authorities would close them in case of protests.
The CDA officials, however, said the said initiative was not only aimed at countering the PTI marchers but would also help deal with similar protests in the future.
According to CDA sources, the design work of the gates has been completed and the gate near Serena Hotel would be 100 feet wide, the one at Nadra Chowk would be 105 feet wide, and the gate near D-Chowk would be 90 feet wide. About the cost, he said the final estimation was being finalised, however, another officer was of the view that the project would roughly cost over Rs30 million depending on the scope of work.
‘Another road without tender’
In a related development, the CDA’s engineering wing started initial work on the construction of a road in the extended area of the Diplomatic Enclave without the tendering process. However, the director road said that the initial work of removing bushes and clearing alignment has been started through “internal arrangements”.
He said the road project was stopped due to the land issue and added that the CDA’s land directorate was working to resolve the issue. The director said that work on the project would be started after a proper tendering process.
The CDA will construct the said road to merge the Diplomatic Enclave and its extended area for better security arrangements.
An official of the engineering wing told Dawn that the old Diplomatic Enclave was a fully protected area, but there was a road on 3rd Avenue between the enclave and the extended area, which was used by locals and the general public frequently.
The official said that, on the other side of the road, there was an embassy of a friendly country; therefore, the CDA had decided to merge both areas for better security arrangements.
The official said restricted traffic would be on the road, adding that frequent travellers, like students of Quaid-i-Azam University, pilgrims of Bari Imam shrine, and people who are living in Bari Imam and other adjoining areas would be provided with an alternate route – the three-kilometre road would be built on the backside of the embassy.
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022