Monday Oct 07, 2019
ISLAMABAD: Thousands of government employees and ordinary citizens are facing the prospect of losing their lifetime savings worth billions of rupees invested in a housing project in the federal capital.
The project is now sealed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) after instances of widespread corruption, rampant violation of rules and manipulation of documents.
Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation (PHAF) need to be charged for manipulation of documents, misrepresentation of facts, false declarations and corruption, resulting in losses to 3200 families.
Official documents prove corruption and incapability galore within the PHAF - a department under Ministry of Housing - which has dealt with the project ever since its launch in 2016.
There are serious concerns about the safety of the entire project – 3200 apartments – in Sector I-12, raised repeatedly by people involved in the construction of the project.
Efforts are already on to brush the gross inefficiency under the carpet. Corrective measure are still possible to arrest the ruination of the dreams of 3200 families, who aspired to have a roof over their heads.
The PHAF launched the scheme for government employees in Islamabad’s Sector I-12 in 2016, consisting of 3200 apartments, and has so far has gathered billions of rupees through booking forms.
The Foundation hired the services of M/s Mienheardt Ltd as consultant in November 2015 for design and supervision services of the I-12 apartment building project.
The design scope was to be completed in 90 days, including the NOC for the project from CDA. Tenders were to be floated for construction of nine packages worth approximately Rs9 billion once the NOC was secured.
Tendering process was completed by April 2016 though there was no NOC from the CDA in place.
It is worth mentioning that some of the building blocks are being raised when a natural stream flows right through the middle of it all without taking into consideration the 2005 Margalla Tower tragedy.
The construction works were delayed till November 2017 as designs were not ready nor were the drawings for the project available with the contractors for 15 months.
Some contractors even raised concerns on the design of buildings, but PHAF and related consultants did not address their reservations, rather instructing them to carry on work, saying it was not their responsibility.
As per official record, M/s Mienheardt designed these buildings on bearing capacity of 0.75 tons per square foot, which is far below the required bearing capacity for structures of this kind.
As 50 percent work has now been completed, and after some of the officials of PHAF have been replaced by Minister for Housing, who carries a very good reputation. M/s Mienheardt has been asked to submit design calculations on the bearing capacity.
A report in which the termination of consultants and recovery of lost money through a NAB investigation is available as well. Some officers are being forced to change the report to save officials.
Director Engineering PHAF, Muhammad Zaki, when contacted, confirmed that he had submitted a confidential report on October 1 in which he pointed out that structure of buildings at the site is unsafe.
The official pointed out that there were some remedial measures that could be undertaken to strengthen the structure, and there could also be third party evaluation of these, if implemented.
Structural designer Saad Saood, who signed the stability certificate, contended that there was nothing wrong with the structure. He blamed misinformation for the delays in the project.