ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has closed a project for the establishment of a cricket academy at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) due to the alleged negligence of the varsity that failed to execute the project in time.

In 2021, the HEC launched a scheme under which various universities were given projects for the promotion of sports. A project worth Rs115 million had been given to the IIUI, but the university could not execute it. “After detailed deliberations during the internal project review meeting, it has been decided in principle to cap the cricket academy [project],” read a letter issued by HEC.

It further said: “ The initiation of civil work for the cricket academy has been significantly delayed. This delay has had cascading effect on the overall progress of the project, jeopardising our ability to meet key milestones and deliverables within the stipulated timeframe. This was also communicated to you [IIUI] via email dated March 19, 2024,” read the HEC letter.

The letter said that HEC awarded the project “Establishment of the Sports Academies and High-Performance Resource Centre” scheme to establish a state-of-the-art cricket academy for nurturing potential players for national and international cricket competitions.

HEC says varsity failed to execute project despite multiple follow-ups

“In this regard, multiple meetings were held with IIUI to submit rationalised cost estimates…and multiple visits were also conducted by the HEC [officials] to expedite the initiation process of the cricket academy.”

“[The] HEC allowed [the] IIUI to initiate the civil work of the academy on August 25, 2023, and kept close liaison and correspondence via email regarding cost rationalisation and award of contract for efficiently concluding the scope within the approved scope of PC-1. However, no substantial component of the scope (cricket academy) has been embarked upon” read the HEC letter.

The letter issued on April 18, 2024, further said that the construction tender for the award of work was still pending at the IIUI despite follow-ups by the HEC.

According to an insider, the university could not even float tenders to award civil works for the project during its entire duration. “This project could not be started on time what to talk about its completion; this is sheer negligence. As a result, the HEC has closed this project,” he said.

When contacted IIUI spokesperson Nasir Farid confirmed to Dawn that the HEC had closed the project. Asked about the university’s failure and negligence that resulted in the closure of this project, he claimed that there was no delay on the part of the university.

“Actually, funds allocated for this scheme were not adequate to execute the project so we were making efforts to raise funds as well to boost the budget. We still are making efforts to raise funds and have also requested HEC to restore this project,” he said. He was asked why tenders were not floated to utilise the budget allocated for the project, he said, “We wanted to raise more money to increase the funds for this project,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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