The perennial problems of Park Enclave

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Dec 11, 2012.

Islamabad – Almost a year and a half after the launch of the Park Enclave housing project, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is back to square one regarding the project’s progress.

On December 5, CDA put up an advertisement on its website inviting applications from consultants for the project. Once hired, the consultant will plan, design and supervise the construction of Park Enclave’s infrastructure including, but not limited to, roads, bridges, storm water drainage and water supply.

The project, which began in July 2011 during the tenure of former CDA chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, was supposed to be completed in one year. But it has languished – with almost nonexistent on-site development – due to poor planning, bureaucratic red tape and competition from the private sector.

In its haste to complete the project, CDA hired NESPAK as consultant right at the project’s onset on single-tender basis. But this was against the regulations. According to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, a consultant must be hired after an open tender process. The Cabinet Division rejected CDA’s attempts to get a one-time waiver on the rules.

The civic agency then tried to proceed with Park Enclave’s development through a design-build strategy. But all the four construction companies which were approved for pre-qualification failed to satisfy the technical requirements of NESPAK, the vetting agency in this case.

Now, 17 months later, the CDA is all set to start a fresh process of procurement, planning and design. And the development work might take another year to complete.

The CDA’s planning wing already has a layout plan for Park Enclave, but it does not account for the engineering and survey requirements, according to CDA member for engineering Sanaullah Aman.

The layout also has technical flaws, according to a CDA official privy to the plan. The official, who was not authorised to speak with the media, said sewage treatment plant is

And the CDA is not allowed to use in-house expertise for the project’s planning and design.

“CDA is bound by Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) regulations to hire an external consultant for projects over Rs300 million,” Aman said. The Park Enclave project is worth Rs3 billion, he said.

A CDA planning wing official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the project would see further delays.

“The process of hiring the consultant and the subsequent planning and design alone would require at least another four months,” the official said.

The official said the project also suffered because it was pitted against a private sector housing scheme. The Bahria Enclave housing scheme, located right in front of the Park Enclave, offered plots at comparatively cheaper rates and plot owners have already received possession of their land.

But Aman was optimistic about the project’s completion. He said the entire development work will be completed by December 2013.

Aman said the project has been divided into five phases: boundary wall, access roads, entrance gate, detailed planning and design, and a sewage treatment plant.

CDA has taken up the first three phases, Aman said. The remaining two will be done by consultants and contractors.

CDA spokesperson Ramzan Sajid said so far 642 of the 700 plots CDA offered in 2011 have been booked. Each plot is worth Rs 12 million. The civic agency collected Rs1.2 million as down payment on the plots, which amounts to at least Rs720 million. The remaining amount is to be paid in installments. But it seems the down payments, and the following installments, will take more time to translate into direct benefit for the plot owners.

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