ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was informed on Monday that M/S ECIL and M/S National Engineering Services Pakistan’s (NESPAK) consultants are responsible for delay in completion of the new Islamabad International Airport Project (IIAP) along with Louis Berger Group (LBG).
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Secretary Muhammad Ali Gardezi told the PAC that it is a bad practice in almost all the existing development projects that the shares of foreign companies in joint ventures almost vanishes after the ventures pre-qualified for a project. He said same happened in case of selection of venue and design for new IIAP. After signing the contract with Louis Berger Group (LBG) the project management consultant (PMC) was responsible for cost overrun/delays in execution of project due to poor quality of services. “The CAA asked LBG to wind up from the project due to “poor quality of services but they went in court of law”, he added.
In 2006, the preparation of master plan for the IIAP construction was assigned to LBG and ECIL (alleged responsible for collapse of Sher Shah Bridge Karachi) as joint venture partners. Later the same group (LBG) was also selected as the PMC for IIAP. In March 2007, the CAA Board on the recommendations of the PMC, approved CPG Airports from Singapore as design consultant for passenger terminal building (PTB) and the design work of remaining components of the project were assigned to ADPi France and NESPAK as a joint venture.
The secretary said that following the directives of Prime Minister and Supreme Court of Pakistan, FIA is probing the causes of delay in completion of new airport which revised cost is increased enormously, adding, that on the directive of CAA Board an internal inquiry was conducted by Gen. (retd) Shahid Niaz which would also be shared with FIA. An official of FIA said that the matter of escalating cost and delay in construction of airport was taken in December 2013 and probing the case vigorously.
It is the first time the official documents available to the committee’s member have written ‘Islamabad International Airport Project (IIAP) instead of writing New Benazir Bhutto International Airport (NBBIA). The committee headed by Syed Khurshid Shah expressed its utter displeasure over land acquisition plan for construction of fourth airport and deviation of link road upto the IIAP. Secretary CAA informed the committee that the authority proposed to government to support the new airport with more than one road access to cater any emergency situation in future.
However, the Planning and Development Division has proposed around 19 kilometer long access to new airport deviating the earlier road access plan. He further said that the CAA is responsible for new airport and National Highway Authority (NHA) is the executing agency. Director Designing NHA Col (retd) Musadiq informed the committee that an estimated Rs13 billion would be construction cost of new 600 meter width road link to new international airport and Punjab revenue department would decide the cost of the land to be acquired for construction of commercial buildings on the sides of the road. He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf already approved the new link which seems feasible to cater air-cargo and traffic for 2030.
The committee was informed that it has been estimated that international and local air-cargo would be five time to 110,000 MT till 2035 and traffic flow would be thrice than the existing one. The new link road would cater to 60,000 vehicles in future. Director IIAP, Brid (retd) Mushtaq Ahmed informed the committee that for the expansion of airport land to meet the future need, 1700 acres additional land would be acquired which would be cost Rs8.5 billion.
Started in April 2007, the BBIA construction project was scheduled to be completed by 2010 with an initially estimated cost of Rs37 billion. However, in June 2009, the then Defence Minister Ch Ahmed Mukhtar had told the NA that the project would be completed by the end of 2011, owing to operational and logistical problems related the airport construction. In March last year, the CAA had run a test flight at the NBBIA while announcing that the airport would be ready in June this year. Now, the CAA officials say, the airport’s completion is not expected before 2015 and its construction cost may escalate up to Rs90 billion.
Earlier, Director General CAA Air Marshal (Retd) Muhammad Yousaf informed the committee that Rs151 million is receivable from Shaheen International Airliner as a mark up of 11.5 percent on its dues. He explained that the Shaheen airliner defaulted of Ministry of Defence in 2004. Later, both agreed that Shaheen Airliner would pay back with ten years period. The airliner again did not pay CAA in 2011 but they arranged payment within six week period. Chairman committee directed the CAA to stop the Shaheen Airliners from operating flights in case they failed to clear their outstanding dues.
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