The Governing Body of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) approved Rs7.69 billion for the budget of the year 2010-11, out of which Rs4.66 billion was earmarked for development projects.

The development projects include the infrastructure of Defence Phase VIII and the completion of other works.

The budget was approved during the annual meeting of the Governing Body at the headquarters of Corps 5 on Monday.

Secretary Defence Lt-Gen (retd) Syed Athar Ali chaired the meeting, while the Commander Corps 5 Lt-Gen Zahir-ul-Islam was also in attendance.

A committee was also formed at the meeting to ensure better coordination, harmony and unity in the workings of the Defence Housing Authority, the Cantonment Board Clifton as well as the Military Land and Cantonment Departments.

The committee will function under the president of the Executive Board of the DHA and aim to sort out all contentious issues between the departments.

The Governing Body also took serious notice of the non-functional status of the Cogen Power and Desalination Plant in DHA. The plant seized to function in 2007 and many believe that this is due to the incompetent management.

The secretary defence said that the plant must be made functional as soon as possible as it was exacerbating the water problems in DHA. He added that no stone should be left unturned to resolve the financial, technical and administrative issues faced by the plant.

The DHA Governing Body was informed that a comprehensive drainage system was laid down following the heavy monsoon rains of 2007. While most of the project was complete, some portions in phases IV and VII could not be finished due to a lack of funds. The completion of these drainage systems was then left for the second phase of the project.

The chairman asked the members of DHA to use proactive measures, such as utilising the print and electronic media to create awareness about the second phase of the drainage project. He maintained that residents must be urged to pay refurbishment charges so that the drainage network could be completed as soon as possible.

The Governing Body was informed that concerted efforts were being made to initiate planning and the construction of the Malir Expressway. The project would link less developed areas of Defence to the centre of the city as well as to industrial areas in Karachi.

The expressway would also be designed to create the quickest and shortest possible route from Defence to the Super Highway, thus reducing traffic on other roads.

Source: The News