ISLAMABAD: Several mega development projects of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) worth billions of rupees were started and executed without consultants over the recent years, which prompted the chairman, Muhammad Ali Randhawa, to order a fact-finding inquiry into the matter.

Some of the projects which did not include the input of consultants include sectors E-12, I-12, C-14, C-15, C-16, and Margalla Avenue.

The inquiry committee formed by the CDA chief is headed by Procurement and Contracts and Design Director General Khalid Asif and includes Parliament Lodges Director Abdul Fateh Mako and Deputy Director Structure Adnan Khan as members.

The committee is tasked to indicate the background of the case after conducting a detailed scrutiny of the record. It will also study the detailed guidelines provided by the planning commission and existing setups with regard to the initiation and execution of mega projects.

Committee to suggest way forward for timely completion of ongoing schemes

The committee “will ascertain the importance of third party validation(s) as per guidelines provided by [the] Pakistan Engineering Council and [the] Planning Commission of Pakistan with regards to [the] initiation of mega projects,” read the inquiry letter, which was issued on June 5.

It further said that the committee will also ascertain “why the consultants were not engaged in development schemes of Sector E-12, I-12, C-14, C-15, C-16, Margalla Avenue, and other mega projects undertaken by the authority”.

The committee will also determine the cause of delay in these projects due to the absence of the project consultants and project directors. The fact-finding inquiry committee will fix apportioning the extent of the responsibilities. The committee will also suggest a way forward for the timely completion of the ongoing schemes.

The letter said that the inquiry committee will complete the task in 15 days and the CDA works’ director general will assist the committee with the provision of the relevant record.

Meanwhile, a CDA official said that the civic agency usually did not engage consultants for sector developments. He claimed that except for Sector I-15, almost all residential sectors in Islamabad had been developed without engaging consultants.

“You know, sector development is a gigantic task which takes years to complete due to various reasons, such as the adverse possession of land. If we engage consultants, we will have to pay them for years,” he said.

The official and added that as far as the hiring of a consultant for Margalla Avenue was concerned, there was no serious need for it as the CDA had its own quality control and design wings with adequate engineering staff. He further said the project was started in 2010-11 but the contractor then left the project after completing the base work. “We resumed work a couple of years ago and completed it,” he said. However, other officials said that consultants should be engaged for all mega projects for their smooth execution and timely completion.

Sources said that the incumbent chairman has directed the engineering wing that no mega development project should be started without hiring consultants for third-party validation. Therefore, sources said that in upcoming board meetings, several summaries related to the hiring of consultants for development work would be taken up by the CDA board. They said CDA board gives approval for hiring consultants.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2024

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