ISLAMABAD  -   The National Highway Authority is going to hand over its building spreading over an area of 7-kanal located in the scenic Naran Valley to a private firm for establishment of a rest area cum resort on a throwaway rent, which is approximately Rs1,41,000 per month.

NHA’s Executive Board will discuss a working paper recommending an agreement with the private firm M/s CHIB Enterprises Golden Heights on Thursday wherein it is recommended that the contract should be awarded to said firm for next 10 years on a cumulative revenue sharing of Rs56,529,942 with NHA. The rent fixed for first year of the lease is Rs17,00,000 with an increase of 25 per cent annually.

However, sources said the building with a covered area measuring 38,167 square feet, located on the bank of Kunar River with stunning serenity and spectacular scenery of gushing water, is an asset of NHA but the incumbent management wants to make money in the guise of prime minister’s austerity campaign by awarding this ‘tainted’ contract with unjustified terms and conditions.

The NHA management, following directions of Federal Minister for Communication Murad Saeed, had decided to rent out this building to a private sector for establishment of a rest area and resort to increase the revenue generation.

The NHA flouted tenders in national dailies to seek technical and financial bids in this regard on 27th of September. In response, nine private firms applied to get the contract, which includes M/s CHIB Enterprises Golden Heights, M/s Grand Ambassador Hotel, M/s Adnan Enterprises, M/s H&B Construction Services, M/s RHI-GWN-DES, M/s Ali’s Engineering Construction Company, M/s Mefa Industries, M/s Sizzle Group and M/s Al-Shan Construction Company.

After initial evaluation of these bids, a conceptual layout plan was approved by the Chairman NHA for this facility, which includes 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.

However, only four firms were declared qualified after technical evaluation including M/s CHIB Enterprises Golden Heights, M/s H&B Construction Services, M/s Mefa Industries and M/s Sizzle Group. These firms submitted their financial proposals, which were scrutinised by the committee through a ‘complex formula’ and declared M/s CHIB Enterprises Golden Heights as the highest bidder.

The said committee recommended to award this contract to M/s CHIB Enterprises NHA’s cumulative revenue share of Rs56,529,942 for next 10 years while Rs1700,000 is fixed as rent for first year with an increase of 25 percent annually. 

Though the final decision in this regard is yet to be made by NHA’s executive board, sources in the authority alleged that the contract would be a ‘classic example of corruption and misuse of authority’ if rented out the building on monthly rent of Rs141,000.

“A normal hotel is charging Rs5,000 per night from tourists in Naran which increases to manifold during summer season,” a hotel manager Ali Raza told this subscribe when inquired, adding: “NHA through its building can easily charge Rs10,000 per night while it comprised eight rooms.”  On the other side, when contacted, head of the committee Ikram-us-Saqlain Haider defended the move with an argument that there was no business in almost half of the year in Naran Valley while 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.