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MDA going against rules to oblige governing body chief.

Byline: Shakeel Ahmed

MULTAN -- To favour the chairman of its governing body, who is also an MPA of the ruling PML-N, the Multan Development Authority (MDA) is going to construct a road which does not fall in its jurisdiction, Dawn has learnt.

It had published an advertisement in a local newspaper two weeks ago, calling for tenders with Dec 26 (Tuesday) as the last day.

To give a cover to its alleged wrongdoing, the authority has mentioned the name of a road in the tender notice which has already been constructed under the prime minister's development package for the city.

The advertisement was published in the newspapers by the MDA executive engineer II, according to which, tenders were called for the construction of the road under the flyover at Sher Shah Interchange. The estimated cost of the project is Rs3.15m and the tenders will be opened on Wednesday (today).

Sources said the MDA governing body chairman and MPA from PP-199, Muhammad Ali Khokhar, had insisted that three roads from his constituency, which didn't fall in the MDA jurisdiction, be constructed from the self-generated income of the authority. But former Commissioner Asadullah Khan had categorically refused to do so, saying that the construction of the roads was not responsibility of the MDA.

After Mr Khan's transfer in March when Bilal Butt replaced him as commissioner and acting director general of the MDA, Mr Khokhar, again asked the new DG for the 'favour' who directed the MDA authorities to construct the roads. When the officials informed the acting DG that the construction of the roads was not possible, he directed them to construct at least one road to oblige the chairman.

When the physical survey of the proposed road was conducted, the officials informed the commissioner that the authority was already facing hardships to justify the audit objections, involving billions of rupees, raised by the audit team which had conducted the audit of the Multan Metro Bus Project (the MDA was the executing authority of the project). The commissioner was also told the MDA had never constructed any road in the past from its own resources. However, all the arguments of the officials fell on deaf ears.

The sources said that instead of mentioning the actual road (the link road that crosses the Sher Shah Flyover road) the MDA was directed to construct it. The MDA authorities mentioned the road under the flyover at Shershah which had already been constructed. The misleading move was made to show that the road fell in the MDA jurisdiction.

The sources said the MDA did not spend on the construction of new roads but if it ever had to construct any road, it would request the provincial government for funds. However, the authority did repair a few roads which were under its direct control.

Acting Executive Engineer II Rao Waseem agreed that the road in question was not located under the Sher Shah Interchange. He said the authorities concerned had already been informed that the road did not fall in the MDA jurisdiction.

'We had informed the authorities regarding the jurisdiction of the road when the survey was conducted; however, we are going to construct the road as per the direction of our high-ups as the road is crossing Sher Shah Road which fell in the MDA jurisdiction,' said Director Engineering Nazeer Ahmad Chughtai.

He said the road was being constructed after the approval of the authority concerned, ie the DG.

'Approval of the technical sanction of the project is not possible until it is not approved by the authority concerned,' he said and added that the matter would again be brought into the notice of the authority.

Commissioner and acting DG Mr Butt insisted that the road fell in the jurisdiction of the MDA and no violation of rules was being committed.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Dec 27, 2017
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