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CDA not in a position to launch new sectors

ISLAMABAD – CDA Chairman Engineer Farkhand Iqbal on Tuesday said the Capital Development Authority (CDA) was not in a position to develop new sectors, adding that instead of developing new sectors, the civic body would complete the construction work in the underdeveloped areas “within days”. Addressing a news conference at the Jinnah Convention Centre, Farkhand said, “I cannot make any claim of opening new sectors, because the CDA cannot pay its utility bills currently due to the financial crisis.”

However, the first media interaction of the new chief of the civic body left a bad taste with Farkhand Iqbal entering into verbal clash with journalists for being around an hour late from scheduled time. The first question asked by a journalist was what the person, who seems last bothered about the importance of time, can do about development work? To which, the chairman also got aggressive and snubbed some journalists, saying, “Let me do my work.”

But the aggression angered most of the media persons and announced to boycott the press conference. Upon the failure of Public Relation officers of CDA to calm down the journalists, some senior media men intervened after which the authority’s chief succeeded to begin his talk.

Farkhand said though, the authority had scarce resources, but he would complete development work in Sector I-11.

“I am not talking about months or years; I will complete the development work in stalled sectors within few days.”

He admitted that the authority had so far failed to ensure maintenance work sufficiently, but expressed his determination to overcome all the challenges.

Pointing to the failures of previous bosses of the authority, he said many examples could be found in the past when the CDA did not carryout development work even after getting the necessary.

“We have another major issue that the authority could not carryout any work in public-private partnership despite the fact that many foreign investors are interested to invest in the federal capital of Pakistan,” he said, adding that he had now highlighted the case and presented it before the Planning Commission.

About the controversial LED project which the authority is allegedly trying to award to a firm which has been backed by some influential, Farkhand insisted that the CDA had a huge burden of utility bills, which stood at Rs 120 million per month, and street lights consumed major part of the amount.

“The LED light system will support the authority to save million of rupees,” he said, adding that according to the survey conducted by Asian Development Bank (ADB), Pakistan could save more than 3000 megawatt of electricity by changing current electricity system with a modern one.

Talking about the loan which the CDA has decided to take from the ADB for executing the project, he said the authority would pay the entire loan by utilising its own resources.

In the LED project, Farkhand claimed, there was no need of maintenance due to which the civic body would also reduce the related staff by 25 percent.

The CDA chief says as the federal capital has expanded over the years, which resulted in a water crisis crippling the city, while 50 percent water is being wasted due to the leakage of pipelines; therefore, the CDA will now try hard to repair the system and construct a pipeline from Tarbela Dam to fulfil the water requirements.

Repeating all the pledges, which the previous chairman also left unfulfilled, Farkhand Iqbal made tall claims that the CDA would construct parking plazas and also renovate the public parks, which are in a bad condition.

He said the seven-star hotels, including Centaurus, would also be developed soon in the federal capital and he was also trying to provide electricity and gas connections to the said hotels. “The CDA will also construct a city centre to facilitate the middle class,” he said.

When asked whether all the work would be carried out under his supervision or by the Islamabad Task Force Chairman Faisal Sakhi Butt, who is considered as the blue-eyed boy of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, he replied that the task force was a public committee, which could only supervise the working of the civic body.

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