CDA launches monsoon tree planting campaign

Islamabad—The Capital Development Authority (CDA) would plant 500,000 saplings during the Monsoon Tree Plantation Campaign – 2012. This was announced by the Chairman CDA, Engineer Farkhand Iqbal, while inaugurating the Monsoon Tree Plantation Campaign – 2012 here in Sector G-14, Kashmir Highway on Wednesday.

Chairman CDA said that CDA is making all out efforts to increase the green cover and preserve the green character of the Federal Capital.

He said that CDA has planned to plant 180,000 trees in the urban areas of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), which includes avenues, green belts, Islamabad Highway, Parks, Playfields and new sectors. The Chairman CDA said that 320,000 sapling would be planted in the suburb including Margalla Hills and Simly Catchments.

Out of these, 200,000 trees would be planted in Margalla Hills as a part of the effort to further increase greenery in the Margalla Hills National Park, whereas 120,000 saplings would be planted in the Simly Catchments.

Encroachment on Khanna Bridge, a security risk

ISLAMABAD: District administration, Islamabad, has termed encroachment on Khanna Bridge as a security risk, amid frequent movement of important personalities on the bridge.

Assistant Commissioner, Secretariat, Nauman Yusuf has directed Capital Development Authority to launch operation for the removal of encroachments on both sides of Khanna Bridge.

SHO, Shahzad town police station, said the police is aware of the security concerns on Khanna Bridge and directed CDA to take action in this regard but no avail.

According to the SHO, the bazaar on Khanna Bridge was set up through connivance of CDA personnel.

Director Enforcement, CDA Ataullah confirmed that district administration has issued directions for checking the encroachments on Khanna Bridge. Continue reading

NAB to probe CDA multi-billion rupee scam

Islamabad

The Executive Board of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has given a ‘green signal’ to launch a probe into Rs6.5 billion mega scam of LED streetlights project of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

The decision was taken in the weekly meeting of the Executive Board of NAB that was presided over by Chairman Admiral (r) Fasih Bokhari here on Wednesday.

According to initial inquiry conducted by NAB, CDA is procuring LED streetlights for Rs150,000 per piece which is excessive, considering the lights are available for Rs20,000.

The entire cost of the project cannot be more than Rs1.36 billion if calculated using the lower rate for the lights.

According to sources, the Rs6.5 billion contract awarded will burden the exchequer as the Asian Development Bank had refused to finance the project.

In the instant case in January 2010, CDA advertised the project for replacement of conventional streetlights with LED lights without any planning and deliberations through CDA’s internal resources.

Earlier on May 29, 2012 under its preventive measures, the NAB had advised CDA for strict compliance of its recommendations to scrap the present LED project. NAB proposed CDA to prepare a new proposal in the light of inputs by a consultant of international repute as a host of newer and cheaper techniques are available in the market.

The NAB also instructed that non-compliance on their part could attract punitive provisions of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999. Continue reading

‘Unprecedented corruption’ in CDA: Parliamentarian sees no choice but to go to SC

ISLAMABAD

The city’s elected representative sees no other way than to go to the Supreme Court (SC) to stop corruption in the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Member National Assembly Tariq Fazal Chaudhry on Thursday expressed his concerns over “growing corruption” in the CDA and the authority’s allotment of precious land in the Margalla Hills to influential people. Chaudhry said that the SC is the “last resort” for him to save the national exchequer from being drained dry.

He said this at a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Division. The meeting was held in Islamabad under the chairmanship of Dewan Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari.

Fazal alleged that the civic authority is giving state land in the Margalla Hills to influential people, including some top ranked politicians, at throwaway prices and that there is corruption in all other CDA development projects.

“Be it the Zero Point Interchange, LED lights, extension of Margalla Avenue or Kashmir Highway there is unprecedented corruption [in the execution of these projects],” he said.

The MNA said that he took up the issues many times in such committee meetings, but nothing ever came of them. “Officials come, giving briefings and leave with promises, but the decisions and recommendations are never implemented,” he said, adding, “As an elected representative of this city, I have only the option to go to the Supreme Court after Eid to expose this corruption.”

The CDA rules were modified to allow for construction in Zone-IV, which was prohibited before 2010. Construction in the Margalla National Park area became possible in 2010 after the Cabinet granted its approval. The park, spread over 17,386 hectares, was established in 1980 and is home to a variety of mammals and birds.

In the meeting, CDA Chairperson Farkhand Iqbal said that the authority is “making efforts” to execute development projects transparently. He said that the CDA had taken “many steps already” to ensure transparency in the projects.

The CDA chairperson added that the authority would soon launch a state-of-the-art Rapid Transport Service — a form of which the authority has been promising for years — in Islamabad. Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had announced over a year ago that the Rapid Transport Service will become operational in six months. But more than six months later, the authority barely managed to get its board to sign off on the project in April this year. Little progress has been made on the project since then.

But in the meeting on Thursday, Iqbal insisted that “the bus service will be a very respectable and affordable one and run in line with similar services in the UK and China.”

Iqbal said that companies from Turkey and Germany have showed interest in the project and they will make a decision within 20 days after the bidders’ ability to implement the project is established.

He said the authority is negotiating with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to carry out the feasibility study of the bus service. The ADB, he added, will charge Rs280 million for their consultation.

The CDA chairperson added that work on the Kuri Model Village will start soon after Eid. The village has been mired by land controversies since 2011, when work on the project started. Continue reading