ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Jail project has been facing an inordinate delay in completion, raising question marks on the efficiency of the departments concerned.
The project was started in 2016-17, but so far, the progress of the project is said to be around 30pc. It is aimed at the construction of a model prison in Islamabad with a capacity for 2,000 inmates and the future provision of 2,000 additional inmates.
As per the original PC-I, the project worth Rs3,920.523 million was supposed to be completed in 36 months — July 2019. Later on, the PC-I was revised with a new cost of Rs18,279.498m. As per the revised PC-I, the project is supposed to be completed in July 2024.
According to sources, the revised PC-I is yet to be approved and the cost may further escalate once the proposal is placed for approval.
In the revised PC-I, the covered area was increased from 869,621 square feet to 914,329 square feet. According to a document, the PC-I was revised because of changes to the covered area, variation in scope as per actual site condition, replacement of asphaltic road with RCC roads, revision of foundation design due to a shallow water table, service conditions, premium of land, sewerage treatment plant, enhanced security level equipment, and inflation.
Only 30pc work completed with July 2024 deadline fast approaching
The revised PC-I was placed before the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) in October last year, but its approval was deferred and the executing agency was directed to inquire about the reasons for the allotment of land in green and buffer areas. It sought a report along with “rationalised/revised PC-I for consideration by the CDWP”.
The jail construction project was conceived in 2007 and a committee was constituted by the Ministry of Interior comprising the ICT administration, the CDA and the district judiciary for the selection of an appropriate site. The said site was finalised in a meeting under the chairmanship of the then-chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court, in February 2012.
After the approval of its board, the CDA allotted a space measuring 90 acres in Sector H-16/2 to the ICT in 2013 and the land was handed over in 2014.
During the PTI government in 2020, the prime minister ordered the shifting of the jail from its current site as it was being constructed in green and buffer zones. Buffer zones are neutral sites that separate areas; Islamabad’s buffer zone separates the federal capital from Rawalpindi.
CDA officials told Dawn that Sector H-16 does not fall in the actual buffer zone at all. They said that the original master plan for the capital was meant for Rawalpindi as well. Under the master plan, the A to H sectors were part of Islamabad and the J to O sectors were to be developed by Rawalpindi.
Therefore, they said that the actual buffer zone was in the I sector series instead of the jail area, but in the documents, no change was made, they said. Subsequently, the federal government decided to continue the project at the same location.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2023