The condition of nine blocks of the Parliament Lodges is decrepit and in urgent need of a complete overhaul which will require three years to complete.
This was revealed to the Senate House Committee as they met to hear the report of a review undertaken by the national engineering company. The meeting was chaired by Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala.
During the meeting, managing director of the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NesPak), Dr Tahir Masood, gave a briefing on the Parliament Lodges, which are meant to house lawmakers of the upper and lower house of parliament. The government-owned private engineering firm had been tasked with surveying the existing blocks and under-construction expansion sections of the lodges and present its report to the house on the issues there.
Dr Masood said that the Parliament Lodges were built in 1998 with 361 family suites spread over nine blocks. These suites had two-bedrooms each with a drawing room and a kitchen.
He informed that these blocks were in poor condition with the ceilings leaking, peeling walls, dilapidated air conditioners and termite-infested furniture and stressed on the need for extensive repairs. He further shared that entire colonies of rats inhabit the lodges. Dr Masood also said that some of the buildings have dysfunctional elevators and a shabby fire extinguishment system.
The NesPak MD said that a budget of Rs150-200 million is allocated for its upkeep. The Capital Development Authority (CDA), who is tasked with that, has a lower budget.
Dr Masood suggested that maintenance work should be done with one block at a time, adding that a pilot project can be launched in one of the blocks with a deadline to complete it in six months. This way, he said, all the blocks can be overhauled by 2021.
At this, the committee’s chairman said that NesPak should be retained as a consultant and advisor on the project and submit recommendations to the committee by September 13 on how to go about the repairs.
Briefing the committee about the construction of new blocks and servant quarters, the NesPak MD said that work on a block with 104 additional family suites and 500 servant quarters is continuing. The family suites are spread over 3.96 acres of land while the servant quarters are spread over 1.4 acres of land.
The committee was told that block E-5 has been completed and that lawmakers have already moved in.
At this, committee members Senator Kulsoom Parveen and Samina Saeed complained that this newly built block was not in good conditions either.