ISLAMABAD - Visiting the Pakistan Monument - a national monument that reflects the culture and civilisation of the country and depicts the story of the Pakistan Movement - is no more free now.The Capital Development Authority has levied entrance ticket worth Rs 20 per person to the Pakistan Monument. It is not unusual, as across the world it is a common practice to charge visitors some nominal amount for visiting such places to balance, to some extent, the expenditures incurred on the maintenance of facility.But it’s uncommon to award such contract to some blue-eyed firm for monetary gains. And when monetary benefits through corrupt practices are gained it ultimately cost heavily on national exchequer. The same happened while awarding Pakistan Monument entry fee contract. Without tending the contract it has been awarded to a firm against a nominal amount of Rs 5 million per annum.Yes Rs5 million for a facility that according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Culture in year 2008 enjoys more number of visitors from across the country than total visitors to famous Badshahi Mosque, Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Shahi Qila and Minar-e-Pakistn in Lahore.The contractor who has been given the contract of collecting entry fee has been charging Rs20 per person.“CDA has never carried out any survey to ascertain the number of visitors daily visit the monument,” Naimat Ullah, CDA Marketing Manager who are oversee the affairs of Pakistan Monument said while talking to TheNation adding, “I think it would be between 1200-1500 visitors per day.” The contract of collection of entry fee that has been given in sheer violation of CDA rules is awarded by the officials of DMA.An official of DMA privy to the developments said if the concerned quarters had through the rules the contract amount might have been much beyond the current one. It is a matter of fact that in April 2011 CDA had given the contract of collection of Lakeview Park entry fee against Rs27 million per annum. But it was done in accordance with law and through open auction.“Pakistan Monument enjoys the same number of visitors, if not more, per day owing to its easy access. The contract amount should not be less than Rs27 million mark contrary to a meager Rs5 million,” the official wishing not to be named said.However, supporting the idea of imposition of entry fee, Niamat Ullah further said that it was part of original plan but CDA adopted the decided policy in this regard very late.When asked if the contract was advertised and given through the open auction as per law, Niamat Ullah said, “no”.“Currently the contract has been given on trial basis to a firm that would collect entry fee for one year and after that CDA would go by book. We will advertise the contract and give it through open auction like Lakeview Park entrée fee contract,” he added. He said CDA rules provide for awarding some contract of such nature without inviting tenders and on trial basis for one year.Naimat Ullah said Administration took that decision owing to prevailing financial crunch where Finance Directorate of the Authority during the financial year 2011-12 had not provided even a single penny out of the reserved Rs28 million for Pakistan Monument. We were forced by the circumstances to take that decision, Naimat said.Chairman CDA Engineer Farkhand Iqbal, who is currently visiting China, talking to TheNation expressed his ignorance regarding the issue. “I am not aware about this specific contract, saying he would look into the matter.” The CDA has taken over the control of Pakistan Monument on July 1, 2011 after the devolution of Ministry of Culture to provinces. Currently 100 staffers of CDA are deputed on the facility including guards, civil and technical staff etc.The foundation stone of Pakistan Monument, spreading over an area of 2.8 hectares of land and located at the west viewpoint of the Shakarparian Hills, was laid on May 24, 2004 and was inaugurated on March 23, 2007. The total cost incurred on construction of monument was approximately Rs600 million.The four main petals of the monument represent the four provinces of the country including Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, while the three smaller petals represent the three territories including GB, AJK and the FATA.