Lease of NHA’s rest house at Naran becomes a ‘scam’

ISLAMABAD  -  The outsourcing of a rest house of the Na­tional Highway Authority at Naran to a private firm has become a ‘scam’ as the au­thority could not generate a single penny in four years. 

Further, building worth millions of rupees have also went into the adverse possession of the lease holder, who never operation­alise a state of the art recreational facility at site, which was promised at the time of leasing out the rest house in the valley on a throwaway price. 

It is pertinent to mention here that the said rest house was leased out on a very nominal rate in a quite tainted manner on the pressure of the then minister for com­munications Murad Saeed. 

According to well-placed sources, the pri­vate firm M/s CHIB Enterprises not only avoided establishing additional facilities but also did not deposit the agreed amount to the NHA account so far in violation of the lease agreement. 

Resultantly, the concerned formation of the NHA has issued a termination notice to the private contractor, who challenged it into the court and got a stay order. 

It is a fact that M/s CHIB Enterprises was continuously renting out NHA’s existing building to the visitors and earning millions of rupees monthly but it remained reluctant to pay even a nominal promised amount to NHA as some of the officers of road authori­ty are hand in glove with said firm. The said firm since taking over the possession of this scenic building had employed different ex­cuses to avoid static investment. 

The private firm took advantage of a no­tice served by Kaghan Development Au­thority over violation of rules and avoided depositing its dues in NHA without having a valid justification. 

However, the private firm remained using building for commercial purposes without paying any amount to NHA. Senior officers suggested that a formal inquiry in this re­gard is necessary that who was extending undue favours to said private firm. 

This scribe contacted NHA’s spokesperson Dr Sohail Aftab and also extended specific written questions regarding the issue but he did not respond back till filing of this story. 

The NHA handed over its building spread­ing over an area of 7-kanals located in the scenic Naran Valley to Ms/ CHIB enterprises for establishment of a rest area cum resort on approximately Rs141000 per month. 

The building was given to the said firm in the guise of prime minister’s austerity cam­paign in a tainted manner for 10 years on a cumulative revenue sharing of Rs56529942 with NHA. The rent fixed for the first year of the lease was Rs1700000 with an increase of 25 per cent annually. 

However, NHA on account of this build­ing having a covered area measuring 38167 square feet, located on the bank of Kunar River with stunning serenity and spectacu­lar scenery of gushing water failed to recov­er even this nominal amount. 

At the time of disposal, the management was of the view that the decision was tak­en on the direction of the then federal min­ister for communications Murad Saeed to increase the revenue; however time proves that NHA not only lost an important build­ing but also failed to generate funds. 

According to a conceptual layout plan ap­proved by then Chairman NHA for the fa­cility included a tourism information cen­tre, landing area for zip line and rope way, restaurant, kids play area, fishing point, wa­ter sports station, prayer area, rest rooms, coffee shop with bakery, 4 cottages, 6 tuck shops, 8 wash rooms and a fountain. 

On the other side, a strong proponent of the project and head of the lease committee Ikram-us-Saqlain Haider was defending the move with an argument that the contractor in addition to existing structure would also construct other facilities on ground, which would be transferred to NHA after 10 years as the contract is on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. 

However, the private firm failed to estab­lish even a single facility on spot and just pocketed millions of rupees monthly and on the other side the concerned officials of NHA are putting things behind the curtain.

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