ISLAMABAD - The city managers are weighing the merits and demerits of a proposal aiming to make the gigantic facility Pakistan-China Friendship Centre, a symbol of friendship, economically self-sustainable by renting/leasing out the portions of the building.Inaugurated on December 17, 2010 by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Primer Yousaf Raza Gilani collectively, the Pak-China Friendship Centre was gifted by the Chinese government to the country after spending Rs 5 billion on its construction. “A symbol of long-lasting ties between the two countries,” as was termed by Wen Jiabao while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the centre, proved a white elephant for the Capital Development Authority over the period of time, stated an official of the Authority. Engineer Farkhand Iqbal while talking to TheNation argued that financial health of the authority was deteriorating to such extent that nowadays he was worried about the payment of salaries to more than 15,000 CDA employees. He said, as the facility was a gift from Chinese government, so the Authority could not avail the option of auction of whole building. However, he said CDA was weighing the option of leasing or renting out the portions of the building.He said huge sum of money counted in millions is spent annually on the maintenance of the building that ultimately adds to the fragile financial situation of the Authority. “As I have stated it’s a gift from neighbouring country, so CDA wants to keep onboard the representatives of Chinese government over the issue. We are in contact with them and I have had two to three meetings with the delegates of Chinese Embassy in this regard,” Engineer Farkhand said.He said leasing or renting out the building meant for its self-sustainability while the practice would also benefit CDA in terms of handsome revenue. Farkhand added things in this regard would be finalized within a period of 10-day. The three-storey Pak-China Friendship Centre covers an area of 12 acres. It houses an enormous 800-seat auditorium, exhibition centre, conference rooms, banquet halls, dance and art centre, function areas, 60 five-star residential accommodation with a coffee shop and special dining rooms with a facility of a vast car-parking for 600 vehicles. The Centre was handed over to CDA after the dissolution of Ministry of Culture. CDA Member Engineering Sanaullah Aman while talking to The Nation said he was disappointed when he recently visited the facility along with the CDA Chairman, as the building has draped deserted outlook owing to lack of cultural activities there.He said nominal charges would be charged for the facility so that it could remain in the access of general public, however, in case of multinational companies the rates would be otherwise.