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CDA Board Abolishes Entry Fee for Visitors of Public Parks
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) Board made a significant decision on 27th February, Monday to abolish the practice of issuing public parks access tickets.
CDA Chairman’s Remarks
At two significant parks, Lake View and Japanese Park, the city government has been charging admission. The board however has determined that all parks in Islamabad should be open to the public for free, after meeting with CDA Chairman, Noorul Amin Mengal.
From this Wednesday (01st March), he said, if any official or contractor charges tourists an entrance fee, they are welcome to report the situation to him right away.
The board also approved the creation of a Vigilance Unit (VU) to oversee CDA staff’s behavior and performance, modelled after intelligence agencies.
A current army officer or an Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer will be brought to CDA on a temporary basis to lead the proposed VU.
Vigilance Unit (VU)
This division will answer directly to the CDA chairman. Additionally, it will have access to any CDA officer’s records kept in the Human Resources (HR) office.
According to sources, the VU will look into any claims made against a public official and also for any instances of corruption. The unit would carry out its responsibilities independently, for reporting rule non-compliance, the board was informed.
A director general, a director, two deputy directors, one assistant director, and one administrative officer will be part of the team. The admin directorate will make preparations for the VU unit to be stationed at a location away from the headquarters.
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The board also authorized controversial bids from earlier auctions. Last year, the CDA sold 42 plots at auction for Rs. 41 billion. A 5,952 square yard tract in the F-7 area of Blue Area brought in Rs. 8.5 billion at auction, among other things.
The media questioned how a plot in this region could be sold off for a significantly cheaper price than those in the F-8 and F-9 portions, which sparked a dispute over the auction of this property. The method used to determine the reserved prices for plots was also questioned. Owing to this problem, it took the CDA a few weeks before presenting the proposals before the board on Monday, when they were accepted.
The board also authorized the holding of a second commercial plot auction, which will only be open to Pakistanis living abroad.
According to sources, the new auction will take place in two months. Together with other items on the agenda, the board in principle approved the hiring of over 150 buses from a government-owned company and the expansion of Garden Avenue from 7th Avenue to Murree Road. The board also authorized the construction of an underpass at Serena Chowk and five parking plazas in different parts of the city.
CDA took a great step towards abolishing the entry fee at public parks as this will allow every citizen to have fun-filled time in any of the public parks, free of cost. Under the current economic conditions of the country where prices of literally everything has doubled, it is a sigh of relief for everyone. They can at least go outside and enjoy some family time in nature.
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