‘Safe City Islamabad’ Project: CDA has not received a go-ahead

ISLAMABAD (March 23, 2011) : The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has not received any go-ahead for initiation of the work on ‘Safe City Islamabad’ Project, informed sources in the CDA revealed to Business Recorder on Tuesday. Safe City Islamabad is a security enhancement project with an estimated cost of Rs 12.9 billion ($151.2 million) under which an effective security system would be installed in the Capital particularly around the Red Zone.

Under this project, an effective and adequate security framework was to be created in Islamabad and law-enforcement agencies would have been strengthened by utilising the state of the art technologies. Emergency command centers were to be established to handle any terror related and calamity incident with a centralised control room and an effective surveillance system to monitor the movement of unauthorised vehicles. Gates were to be built at entry and exit points of security zone (Red zone) along with installation of CCTV cameras and police guard rooms at the gates, the CDA sources said, adding that explosive scanners were to be installed at entry points for checking vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has decided to drop the multi-billion-rupee ‘Safe City Islamabad’ Project designed to secure Islamabad in the wake of increasing terror threats, informed sources in Interior Ministry revealed to this scribe.

The project was cancelled after the Supreme Court of Pakistan accepted a petition questioning transparency in the project. The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) did not approve this project an estimated cost of Rs 12.9 billion ($151.2 million). A petitioner, Shahid Orakzai, moved the apex court and the court issued notices to the parties and called them for hearing on March 25.

The project became controversial when a committee, formed by the government, found a discrepancy of Rs 6.2 billion between the committee’s assessment and the Interior Ministry’s PC-I, this scribe learnt reliably. Sources disclosed that total cost of the project was not more than Rs 6.7 billion ($78 million) while under the PC-I the estimated cost was Rs 12.9 billion ($151.2 million).

The Federal Government had inked concessional loan agreement of $151.15 million for Safe City Islamabad Project with Exim Bank of China. On the insistence of Interior Minister, Rehman Malik the federal cabinet granted exemption to $125 million Safe City Islamabad project from Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Rules 2004, which was challenged in Supreme Court. Despite reservations shown by many ministers the federal cabinet exempted the project from PPRA Rules and the project was granted to single party namely M/s Huawei Technology Company Limited without formal bidding.

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