Thursday, 6 February 2014

Punjab decides to utilise Ministers’ Block, finally


Punjab decides to utilise Ministers’ Block, finally

Rs 851.189m approved for finishing after failure to privatise the purpose-built complex



Punjab decides to utilise Ministers’ Block, finally

For news details visit : http://allgbnews.blogspot.com/editors-picks/06-Feb-2014/punjab-decides-to-utilise-ministers-block-finally
GILGIT - After the Privatisation Board’s failure to sell the Ministers’ Block near Civil Secretariat, the Punjab government has decided to utilise it for the purpose it was built, The Nation has learnt.
At the 29th meeting of Provincial Development Working Party, the Planning and Development (P&D) Board approved Rs 851.189 million for the finishing work of the purpose-built complex, adjacent to People’s House. The session was presided over by Punjab Planning and Development Board Chairman Muhammad Irfan Elahi and attended by the board members.
The completion of the Ministers’ Block at the old Labour Department site will also be carried out at a cost of Rs 851.189 million, along with other 12 development schemes with an estimated cost of Rs 38.099 billion. The building, to be utilised as offices for ministers, parliamentary secretaries and their staff at one place, required finishing.
The P&D approved the amount on the proposal of S&GAD that had also opposed the move earlier to sell this building having 48 office suites.
The PML-N Punjab government in 2008 decided to privatise the block and convert the Chief Minister Secretariat at 8-Club Road into an information technology university for women both built at an estimated cost of Rs 730 million and Rs 900 million, respectively, during Pervaiz Elahi’s tenure, an officer revealed. He added the decision was taken after a poor response from the bidders. They had shown reservations over the high reserved price fixed by the Privatisation Board, the location and the structure of the block, he held.
The Privatisation Board had fixed Rs 1.225 billion after carrying out assessment in collaboration with the Communication and Works (C&W) and Board of Revenue (BoR) departments.
Hence, the government has decided to allot the offices to the provincial ministers, advisers and parliamentary secretaries who are having their offices in different departments, an S&GAD official confirmed.
Since the building was constructed for a specific purpose, it should be used for public sector offices, the committee report stated. The PML-N government had approved the privatisation of the block even after the report.
The opposition parties in Punjab had also criticised the Shahbaz Sharif government’s plan to sell the state-owned costly block. The government had completed all formalities to sell it, but private parties did not take part in the bidding successfully. The government tried to privatise the state-owned land, but failed, said an official of the S&GAD. He said the construction of the block had begun during the regime of former Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi at an estimated cost of Rs 600 million that later rose to Rs 730 million, he held. But the PML-N government found the block unnecessary and a waste of money and decided to sell it. By this time Rs 380 million had been spent on the main structure of the complex, he stated.
Now Rs 1.23 billion will be the total estimated cost of the block which has been built on old Labour Block site near Civil Secretariat, the official said.
Opposition MPAs had also demanded the assembly to stop the sale of the newly-constructed Ministers' Block, which, he said, could cause security threat for the Punjab government’s head offices at Civil Secretariat.
A C&W Department senior officer, conditioning anonymity, told this scribe that after an undue delay the cost of the project had increased and the recently approved estimated amount to the tune of Rs 851 million was an additional burden on the public kitty.

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