MCI’s revenue collection system raises eyebrows – Newspaper
ISLAMABAD: The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) has not auctioned revenue collection contracts in the past year and instead collected meager amounts directly from various projects.
Sources said that the Municipal Administration Directorate (DMA) of MCI is currently collecting revenue from four main projects on its own.
These projects include the G-9 bus stop, the parking lot adjacent to the Centaurs Mall, the Shakarparian parking lot, and the Damn-i-Koh parking fee. In addition, DMA operated the diplomatic shuttle service until recently.
Officials say that some items benefit from the self-collecting system and they don’t want to do transparent bidding, so for some reason they delayed the auction.
While sharing details of the plans, officials said DMA was running the shuttle service until recently and earning a “nominal” revenue.
The bus service was started after 9/11 as a security measure by the federal government at the time and the entry of private vehicles into the diplomatic enclave, home to embassies, was prohibited.
Visa applicants and visitors were advised to use the shuttle service and they were supposed to pay 500 rupees for the bus and 1,000 rupees for the car to enter the diplomatic enclave.
The diplomatic enclave is located on Constitution Avenue and easily accessible from various sides, but people were not allowed to enter the area directly.
In the past, DMA earned millions of rupees per month from the shuttle service contractor. However, the project has faced controversy for some years due to a dispute between the contractors and DMA over some issues.
In March 2020, the DMA sold the site at auction for Rs102.6 million per year. However, contractor failure led DMA to take over the site in December 2020.
The DMA was part of the CDA but after the formation of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), it was placed under the administrative control of the latter.
A DMA official said the project was dubbed a “slot machine” for corrupt items, but it was a big burden for visitors to the diplomatic enclave.
“It is a great injustice with citizens who are forced to pay Rs500 and Rs1,000 for a short distance. This project should be closed and people should be allowed to move freely within the enclave,” he said.
The official added that a few years ago, the Senate Standing Committee on the Interior ordered MCI to end the shuttle service and allow citizens to enter the enclave freely, but “no attention ‘was given to the Public Welfare Directive of the Standing Committee’.
According to reports, only a meager amount has been deposited in the Treasury in the past 13 months. So, in the interest of transparency, the figure of the amount collected by the DMA should be made public,” an MCI official said.
Similarly, officials said the G-9 bus stand, which was last auctioned for 70 million rupees a year, was due to be auctioned from May last year, but so far the DMA does not seem interested in auctioning off the site rather it has focused on self-collecting.
Meanwhile, the auction of the parking lot adjacent to the Centaurs mall has also been on hold for six months. Last time, this site was auctioned for Rs90 million per year.
Similarly, the Shakarparian and Damn-i-Koh parking site auction has also been ongoing for several months and DMA is currently collecting the parking fees itself.
Finance Director of Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICT) Ali Asghar, who was also Director of DMA until recently and currently serves as Chief Metropolitan Officer (CMO), did not could not be approached for his comments.
However, when contacted, DMA director Shakil Arshad said he could not explain the reasons for the self-collection.
“I recently joined the DMA and let me assure you that we will be auctioning off three sites (G-9 bus stop, Shakarparian parking lot and parking lot adjacent to the Centaurs) in the coming days to end the culture of l ‘self-collection,’ he said and added. only recently the diplomatic shuttle service was entrusted to a contractor.
“The shuttle service has been run by a contractor for a few weeks. I was told that due to litigation, the DMA was doing the self-collection,” he said.
Posted in Dawn, January 26, 2022