Karachi: The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has said that it has not abandoned but redesigned its car parking plaza project near the DHA Khadda Market; it will now be a shopping-and-parking plaza.
The project, which was supposed to be completed some six months ago, had no provision for shops in its original plan. DHA officials concerned said all the paperwork had been completed to redesign the car parking plaza project, which was unique in the sense that it would be constructed on two sides of the DHA Hockey Stadium and ultimately would take the shape of twin towers with the possibility of interconnectivity through an alleyway.
DHA engineers and officials said that an additional storey had been added to the revised design conceived for the car parking plaza project to make space for shops. “After being redesigned, the project will provide parking space for at least 400 vehicles on two sides of the Hockey Stadium,” said an engineer privy to the project development.
Another civil engineer said that making provisions for shops in the parking plaza would be a lucrative venture for the DHA keeping in view the high commercial value of the area but the project should be properly designed due to the proximity of the Hockey Stadium because its presence could mar the project design. One option was to demolish the Zamzama Club, which was part of the Hockey Stadium and was rarely used for any social activity due to its neglected status.
DHA Director Development Colonel (retd) Sirajul Hasnain confirmed that his directorate had completed all presentations for redesigning the Khadda Market project and the redesigned concept was now ready to be presented before any upcoming meeting of the DHA Executive Board that is headed by the Corps-V commander.
After the redesigned scheme is approved, the car project will be built with an addition of a storey and will comprise ground-plus-three levels. He said that under the new revised concept, the ground floor would be utilised for offering space for shops and offices.
The contractor initially selected for building the project had backed out because he had suffered financial losses due to stalled development projects in Swat. “Now with the redesigning of the project, we will have to look for a new contractor for the project,” he said.
The parking plaza project, which had already been delayed for some five months, would now take at least 11 to 12 more months for completion, he maintained.
According to the Ministry of Defence rules generally followed by the DHA for their development projects, a defaulting contractor could be blacklisted by the authority for any future work or be penalised under the recommendation of a board of inquiry after completion of the project. In this case, however, the contractor will evade any adverse action as the authority has itself redesigned the project, one DHA official said.
A DHA insider having knowledge about the project said that the car parking plaza had been abandoned a few months ago after cemented columns were erected in one of the plots for the plaza while on the other plot adjacent to the Hockey Stadium only initial piling work was completed. The project with an initial estimated cost of around Rs300 million should have been completed by October 2008.
Meanwhile, DHA residents and traders have expressed their apprehensions that the DHA is no longer serious in pursuing the parking plaza project and has abandoned it soon after its groundbreaking work.
Association of Defence Residents (ADR) President Captain Kamal Al-Karimi told The News on Monday that after repeated requests from the ADR, the DHA administrator had finally agreed to visit the DHA Khadda Market next week along with the ADR members to assess the status of the ongoing and completed development and beautification projects for the market.
Clifton Defence Markets’ Association President Akbar Ali Rana said that the building of a car parking plaza project had been an important need of the Khadda Market keeping in view the daily convergence of a large number of the market visitors.
He said that his association had held initial meetings for the car parking project in Khadda Market some three years ago with the then-DHA administrator. “Now we have every reason to doubt the seriousness of the DHA to pursue and complete the project without any further delay,” he claimed.
Source: The News