Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on September 30, 2022, laid down the foundation stone of the Bhara Kahu Bypass and directed the National Logistics Cell (NLC) to complete the project in three to four months. The mega project, mainly aimed at public relief from excessive traffic, was contracted to NLC for a cost of Rs. 6.5 billion. Out of the total cost, CDA has released Rs 2.5 billion and on January 9, an additional Rs. 500 million was also sanctioned.
Until now, about 60 percent of the work has been done; the earthwork of the road is completed and so has been the laying of the girders on the interchange. Completion of work on bridge and underpasses has almost been achieved as well. Work on the flyover, however, has been slow-paced due to the complicated nature of its construction process.
The approval of Rs. 500 million is not entirely sufficient for the rapid completion of the project as the engineering wing had requested a release of Rs3 billion, but they were given Rs 500 million – with the assurance that more installments will be released in the coming weeks. Several CDA-funded mega development projects are receiving funds in installments as a result of the current financial crisis faced by CDA; Major portion of the funds received by CDA as a result of plot auctions was spent on quotation works, rendering CDA’s financial wing highly unstable.
It is relevant to note that according to rules and regulations, quotation works worth only Rs. 500,000 are allowed while several CDA directorates illegally spent around Rs. 20 billion on the said works. Finance wing sources indicated that the spending of billions in the quotation scam has led to a significant shortage of funds for CDA and consequently created many financial difficulties.
The scam, then came under the attention of the CDA Chairman retired Capt. Mohammad Usman led to the beginning of an inquiry. But up until now, no outcome of inquiry has come to the fore. In addition to this, when auditing the CDA accounts, Auditor General Pakistan also remained ignorant of the scam and did not hold the responsible individuals accountable.
The financial situation of CDA is hoped to be improved mainly as a result of auctioning off plots this month, in which the authority expects to earn an estimated amount of 20 billion rupees; CDA is also planning to launch a housing project, mainly for overseas Pakistanis, which could be a possible source of great financial support.
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