RTMA development projects: Road dept refuses evaluation

RAWALPINDI, May 20: The roads department of the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) has refused to conduct the third-party evaluation of development projects worth Rs60 million of the Rawal Town Municipal Administration (RTMA), terming it beyond its mandate.

In a letter to Rawal Town Administrator Saif Anwar Jappa, District Officer (Roads) Shafqat Hussain refused to conduct the evaluation, adding it would be difficult for them to issue an okay report to other government departments.

The town administrator had asked the district officers of building and roads to assess the quality of work and check whether the roads, streets and buildings worth Rs60 million were constructed according to the specification of the plan during the fiscal year 2012-13.

The decision to conduct the evaluation was taken after receiving complaints about substandard work on the projects.

The administrator had requested the district officer buildings to check three projects – construction of a retaining wall around Dhoke Ratta Graveyard worth Rs2.5 million, a wall along Leh Nullah at Pirwadhai worth Rs2.5 million and construction of a slaughterhouse worth Rs6.7 million.
He had referred eight projects of roads and streets to the district officer roads.

These projects included Satellite Town B. Block road worth Rs4.86 million, 4th road (Rs12.9 million), service road along Islamabad Expressway (Rs4 million), streets at Dhoke Ratta (Rs4 million), Raja Zafarul Haq Road (Rs4.4 million), Muslim High School street, Saidpur Road, (Rs4.1 million), Union Council 35 streets (Rs5 million) and Naz Cinema streets (Rs4.42 million).

“It’s not our mandate to conduct such evaluations. There are specified rules under which the department concerned should have to hire a consultant to prepare the report after examining the quality of work,” said the district officer roads, Shafqat Hussain, while talking to Dawn.

He added that the Rawal Town Municipal Administration had requested the roads department but the latter refused to prepare the report.

“The third-party evaluation means that a third person will conduct the inquiry and prepare a report. If a government department is engaged, the impartiality of its report will be challenged any time,” he contended.

When contacted, Town Administrator Saif Anwar Jappa said there was no need to hire a consultant and waste public money.

“The road and building department can do this because it is a separate department.”

He said after the refusal of the road department, the RTMA had requested the district coordination officer to direct the department to conduct a third-party evaluation of these projects so that the complaints about substandard material used in the projects would be made public and action taken against the officials responsible, if the allegations were confirmed.

To a question, he said the building department had neither refused to prepare a report nor taken action over the request.

He said the RTMA had also written to the building department and its reply would come soon.