Sindh CM forms technical body to evaluate rates of Karachi Safe City project equipment, software

KARACHI-Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar presided over a decisive meeting on the Karachi Safe City Project. In principle, he approved the project subject to the rationalisation of the rates of different equipment and software and the payment of taxes.
“I want to start work on the much delayed and needed project, but as the custodian of public funds, it is my responsibility to ensure transparent utilisation. Therefore, the NRTC must satisfy me and my team regarding the estimates,” he said, and constituted a technical committee under Home Secretary Iqbal Memon to evaluate equipment prices and compare them with the market price. The committee would select its technical members from universities, and they would be empowered to delete duplications and insert missing items. However, the Chairman of P&D, Shakil Mangnejo, would continue his sessions with the NRTC team on different components of the project and their prices.
The chief minister discussed every item and its cost with the NRTC representatives, and they agreed to reduce the cost of the equipment and software and delete the items included in duplication. “In principle, we have decided to approve the PC-I (by the P&D), but even then, a technical committee, to be selected from the universities’ experts headed by the home secretary, would evaluate the rates of the equipment and submit their proposals within the next 15 days,” the CM decided.
The meeting was attended by Minister Home Brig (retd) Haris Nawaz, Chairman P&D Shakil Mangejo, Secretary Home Iqbal Memon, Sindh IGP Riffat Mukhtar, Secretary LG Manzoor Shaikh, Secretary Finance Kazim Jatoi, DG Sindh Safe City Authority Asif Aijaz Shaikh, NRTC representatives and other concerned officers.
The CM said that if the NRTC did not agree on the prices, the provincial government would prefer to start the civil works, such as the construction of ducts, laying of optical fiber, installation of poles, and construction of the main building, so that the much-delayed project can be moved forward.
Safe Cities Authority DG Asif Aijaz Shaikh briefed the chief minister on the progress of the project. The project was conceived in July 2016, and the Home Department had selected a firm to prepare the PC-I/RFP. In December 2020, an MoU was signed between NRTC and Sindh Safe Cities Authority for the installation of 10,000 cameras.
The CM was told that since the Karachi Safe City Project had already been delayed, the cost of the project was increasing day by day with dollar variation. 
P&D Chairman Shakil Mangejo told the CM that the NRTC has submitted a modified PC-I with them (P&D) of Rs48 billion. Under the PC-I, 10,000 new high-definition cameras would be installed, apart from the upgradation of 2,000 existing cameras. This entire process of installation and upgradation would be completed in five phases. 
It was pointed out that the P&D had disagreed with the NRTC over the prices of different items. Upon this, the CM decided to discuss all the disputed rates of equipment and managed to get most of the prices reduced, curtailed, and agreed to some of the NRTC rates.
The prices and taxes were discussed by the chief minister, who stated that the NRTC would only pay the applicable freight taxes and duties, and no extra taxes or duties would be imposed on the Sindh government. Additionally, it was decided that the NRTC would waive 10 percent of their service charges.
It was also decided that the NRTC would drop the rate of foreign consultancy, and project management; however, the item regarding NRTC administration would be re-negotiated and examined in detail. The CM said that the NRTC has increased the rate of ‘video enhancement software’ to Rs84 million was unreasonable and would be re-negotiated by the chairman P&D and even in the technical committee. The Technical and Financial Committee would also evaluate and examine the Fusion Software tools and submit their recommendations within 15 days. The chair decided that the NRTC would reconsider the cost it has proposed for laying fiber optic cable. The technical committee would examine its rates. The CM warned that if any items come to the surface at a later stage which were not discussed in the meeting, they would be discussed and incorporated.

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