CDA decides to seek legal opinion

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ISLAMABAD   The Planning Wing of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to seek opinion of its Law Directorate on initiating some project under public private partnership in the presence of apex court’s ruling in famous Northern Strip (E-11) case.
The Planning and Design Wing of the civic body needed the opinion of its legal brains prior to submit a proposed summary with the CDA board. The proposed summary suggests initiation of much needed but too-delayed bus rapid transit (BRT) project on public private partnership basis.
Earlier, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on April 15, 2011, while deciding a case pertaining to the CDA’s joint venture with a private firm, Multi Professional Cooperative Housing Society (MPCHS), for the development of 54-acre of CDA’s land in sector E-11 (Northern Strip), had struck down the agreement terming it in violation of defined rules and procedures in this regard.
“We want our Law Directorate to interpret Supreme Court’s decision that whether the ruling had bounded CDA not to initiate any project on public private partnership in future or it was specifically about the transparency related issues involved in that agreement the Authority had signed with MPCHS,” CDA spokesperson Ramzan Sajid said.
He further said that if Law Directorate stamped the fact that Supreme Court had not bounded CDA to go for joint ventures with private firms than proposed summary regarding BRT Project would be submitted to the CDA Board for its approval.
In recent past the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has offered CDA a multi-tranche loan to help build Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project in the federal capital.
The BRT project was termed feasible by the ADB in a pre-feasibility study it had recently conducted and submitted with the Authority. Besides, the ADB has also shown its willingness to provide a loan up to 80 per cent of the total cost of the BRT project.
In the pre-feasibility report the approximate cost of the project is estimated around Rs 7.5 billion. The pre-feasibility study has been carried out only for Islamabad as the Punjab government had already refused to become part of the project that was initially aimed to connect the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in a bid to make venture profitable and more successful.
“The Planning Commission of Pakistan has recently written to the Chairman CDA about the proposed loan offered by the ADB asking for CDA’s consent over the issue,” CDA Member Planning and Design Syed Mustafain Kazmi said.
“Terms and conditions offered by ADB will be discussed and if found viable, the option will certainly be considered,” he said, adding the Authority was also considering the option of initiation of project on public private partnership basis.
The Infrastructure Project Development Facility (IPDF) and Cities Development Initiative for Asia - a subsidiary of ADB - had undertaken the pre-feasibility study on the BRT project.
As per study, around 42000 commuters daily travel within the federal capital. The pre-feasibility study suggests that as many as 48 multi-fuel buses would be inducted in the first phase on four different intra-city routes.
Tickets will be available in three price categories, that is Rs30, Rs40 and Rs50 per person depending on the length of route. For CDA it will be a no-profit-no-loss situation, if every passenger is charged Rs50 for travel, otherwise, the Authority has to provide subsidy against the project, the study suggests.
“According to the study, the CDA will attain break-even point if every passenger is paying fare of Rs50. We will have to provide subsidy under two price categories - that is Rs30 and Rs40,” informed a concerned official.
The four routes proposed in the study include, 1) IJP Road to Pak-Secretariat via 9th Avenue and Blue Area, 2) Sector G-10 to Pak-Secretariat via Sector G-9 and Kashmir Highway, 3) from Sector F-10 4) from Sector I-10 covering Sectors I-9 and I-8.
The official sources further said that ADB has also suggested two financial plans to the Authority. The long-term financing plan spans over 10 years while the short-term plan on five years.
The CDA’s BRT project is aimed at relieving the capital city’s severe traffic issues, as in the absence of decent transport facility the commuters face long commute times due to inefficient transport system.
Courtesy:  The Nation

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