By: Yasir Habib Khan | Published: January 09, 2010
LAHORE – Instead of beautification, corruption is the trademark of Parks and Horticulture Authority as mafia is on the loose to mint millions by executing various works bypassing the set rules and regulations.
After realising the gravity of situation, the Punjab Government transferred PHA DG Raheel Ahmed Siddiqi Thursday night. And DCO Kasur Abdul Jabbar Shaheen has assumed the charge of DG PHA. However, the status quo continues as no action has been taken to nip the mafia in the bud.
Well-placed sources in the PHA told The Nation that Rs30 million work of laying down mobile towers cables and converting greenbelts into cemented pavements was completed recently without any official contract or approval by the competent authority.
Sources revealed that Raheel Ahmed Siddiqi former PHA DG who was transferred last night and his PSO Moazzam Nazeer still working as BPS-16 officer, are the partners of the running mafia business. Both of them (Siddiqi and Moazzam) after getting their palm greased, allowed leading mobile companies to lay down tower cables in the area of Peco Road for 3km, Johar Town (7km), Faisal Town (6km), Thokar to Ferozepur Road (7km), Southern Bypass (6km) and Model Town Link Road (1km).
Sources disclosed that neither any contract was singed with the mobile companies nor other legal requirements were fulfilled in the case.
However during the illegal activity when PHA Assistant Director Liaqat Ali demanded the official permission letter for laying down cables at the sites, he was made OSD. Afterwards none of PHA officers dared to raise their voice fearing to meet the similar fate.
Sources said PSO Moazzam Nazeer in connivance with former PHA DG Raheel Ahmed Siddiqi and supervisor Township Sibtain also converted the 10-feet wide and 200-feet long greenbelt into the cemented pavement in front of Cinema owned by the former minister Abdul Aleem Khan after getting around Rs1 million bribe.
Sources further said the PSO who is now heading the mafia after the transfer of Raheel Ahmed Siddiqi was working in the PHA against rules.
PSO to former PHA DG ex-employee of TDCP was sent to PHA on deputation for the period of 2 years. Though his deputation period has expired over the last 8 months, but he could not be repatriated to his mother organisation due to his connection with high-ups. Interestingly though Secretary Housing Irfan Ali has rejected his deputation extension pleas thrice, but he is still working in PHA. Moreover the government official of grade 16 is neither entitled to have 1300cc car or get 280 liters petrol. However PSO to former PHA DG has been enjoying these perks in sheer violation of rules. He also got the greenbelt cleared to pave way for the construction of CNG station near Shaukat Khanum Hospital in return of huge bribe.
Rule of mafia can be assessed by the fact that a number of inquiries are pending against his misappropriations but he continues with his nefarious designs with impunity.
It may be recalled that during the tenure of Raheel Ahmed Siddiqu, mafia behind the financial kickbacks in the procedure of awarding contracts and bypassing the rules spread its tentacles in the PHA. The contracts awarded regarding the beautification of existing fountain structures besides monument and surrounding triangles at Qartaba Chowk at Jail Road costing Rs1.5 billion and securing the services of a legal firm on a two-year contract against a hefty remuneration of Rs450,000 per month, exposed the financial irregularities.
The racket of senior officials of PHA was also active in the tenure of ex-PHA DG Mustafa Kamal Pasha. As many as seven construction work under model road project costing Rs2.2 million were awarded to different firms bypassing the open biding and pre-qualification process. The mafia also delayed much-hyped action plan to transform the provincial capital into a city of gardens despite allocation of Rs243 million for the implementation of the plan.
Two big parks spreading over 1,000 kanals in Johar Town and 480 kanals along with River Ravi had also been put on the backburner.