ISLAMABAD (October 20 2008): The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is planning to hold property exhibition and road show in Dubai with the objective to attract foreign investment in the real estate sector in Islamabad. These events aim to generate funds for development projects planned by CDA and to bring the scarce foreign exchange into the country.
This was stated by the newly appointed Chairman of CDA, Tariq Mehmood, in an exclusive interview with Business Recorder.
He said that these events in Dubai would take place in March or April next year, and the Privatisation Commission, the Planning Commission and other relevant departments would also be involved in this programme.
“We are facing acute financial crunch, which could mar the ongoing development projects of the Authority”, Mehmood said, adding that the projected budget of the CDA for last fiscal year was Rs 25 billion, out of which Rs 20 billion was targeted to be generated through land auction. However, no auction took place during the last one and a half years. He lamented the fact that the major issue of water shortage had been put on backburner because of government focus on developing other infrastructure. This had forced the CDA to ration water in the capital.
“We need 125 million gallons water a day to supply drinking water to the inhabitants of the capital, while availability is just 51 million gallons a day. Thus, we are facing acute shortage of over 60 percent”, he said, and added that besides water shortage 30 percent of available water is being wasted through leakage from outdated pipelines.
With the underground water table going down, several tube-wells have become useless, he said, adding that a survey was being conducted to dig the existing tube-wells deeper. He said that issue of water shortage was taken on war footing basis and it is expected that six small dams will be constructed in Islamabad.
Chief of metropolis admitted that most of the water in Islamabad is contaminated due to rusty pipelines and, in many places, water supply lines are mixed with sewerage lines. There is a problem in filtration plants, and a task force was formed to look into the matter thoroughly, he added. “We are looking to construct small dams on the pattern of the study conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for construction of small dams in 1987”, he said, adding that the task force on water was asked to review this study to meet the water shortage.
CDA, he said, had plans to bring a pipeline from Ghazi Barotha, at a cost Rs 47 billion, but this project is still to be implemented. Mehmood vowed that he would remove all procedural bottlenecks in this regard and work will be started on the project soon.
Talking of procedural and political bottlenecks of the Ghazi Barotha pipeline, he said that provinces have their share in this project while the capital was totally ignored. “We have 4000 to 5000 families from NWFP residing in Islamabad, 500 to 700 families from Balochistan and over 1500 from Sindh, while all provinces have their houses and fixed quota in federal government jobs and they have to accept the water share of the capital”, he said. He said a special committee of senior and influential citizens from all four provinces was formed and merged to form a water task force to resolve the water issue of Ghazi Barotha pipeline.
Talking of his vision for the future, he stated that CDA would construct one ‘Cineplex’ at Murree Road, for which land has already been procured. A second Cineplex will also be constructed as soon as land is identified for it. He said that two international standard ladies’ parks in F-7 and F-10 sectors would be developed besides ladies clubs in G and I sectors. He said that the park constructed for disabled persons had been completed and within a week or two it would be opened after formal inauguration.
About roads infrastructure he said that the Authority would give priority to all the on-going projects and would try to complete them on schedule. This includes expansion of Rawal Lake Park, up-gradation of Saidpur Village, Shakarparin Park, construction of important Avenues, roads, underpasses, overhead bridges, widening of Islamabad Highway, and so on.
He said in the past priority was given to road infrastructure leading from North to South in Islamabad while 9th and 7th Avenues have been constructed which have proved helpful in dealing with increasing traffic pressure. “But my focus would be on establishment of road infrastructure from east to west”, he maintained.
He said that 11th and 10 Avenues will be built soon while Kashmir highways will be expanded to 5 lanes from existing 3 lanes. He said that Margalla Avenue will be constructed starting from Nicolson Monument at G T Road to Murree Road which will facilitate people coming from NWFP and Northern Areas. Regarding establishment of new residential and industrial sectors, Tariq said that ten new sectors, including 8 residential, one industrial and one institutional, are in the works.
He said that CDA is acquiring about 4500 acres land in Kurri, Jhaba Teli and Pindori; and the current residents of these areas would be settled in ‘Model Villages’ in these areas. “We have resolved the decades-long issue of E-11, F-11/4, I-11, I-12”, he said. He said that his main focus would remain on beautification of Islamabad to make it a capital of international standard and an attraction for foreigners.