ISLAMABAD - The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has allocated Rs100 million for renovation of a private property in order to run a university in a rented building in his hometown Nowshera.

Conceived in 2013-14, the University of Technology or UoT was initially proposed to be located in the provincial capital Peshawar but Chief Minister Pervez Khattak shifted it to his hometown Nowshera.

The private property belongs to Adamjee Paper Mills but now the building will be housing University of Technology and the rent amounting to Rs2.8 million per month will be paid by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

Interestingly, the same building temporarily had housed Razmak Cadet College after commencement of Zarb-e-Azb military operation and the rent paid to the building owner was Rs600,000 per month.

Though classes will begin next year in the university, the KP government has been paying Rs2.8 million as monthly rent for the last seven months.

The PC-I of the university has projected the cost of the educational institutions at Rs3 billion, however, no step has so far been taken to kick off civil work on the project despite availability of funds.

What angered the top officials in the Industries department, the administrative body of the university, was the request of the chief minister to set aside Rs100 million from the total cost of Rs3 billion to renovate the private paper mills.

“How can a government allocate huge public money for renovating property of a private individual? We will waste Rs100 million once the university’s actual building is completed,” a senior official told The Nation.

Documents available with The Nation reveal the KP government has awarded several contracts worth millions in this regard to modernise the building.

The Adamjee paper mills, an abandoned industrial unit, will now have a gymnasium, boundary walls, auditorium, sewer lines and tough tiles worth millions.

The official documents show that a contractor from Nowshera has been assigned to start work on laying down of sewer lines at the cost of Rs3 million followed by another contractor from the hometown of the chief minister who will construct auditorium at the cost of Rs3.4 million.

Tough tiles will be fixed in the Adamjee paper mills at government expenses worth Rs6.6 million. Similarly, Rs4.2 million has been set aside for construction of a gymnasium in the private building.

“We have paid advance rent to the owner of the building. We are paying monthly rent too. Why we are spending public money (Rs100 million) on infrastructure of a private property? And we will be running the university temporarily in the building,” the officer said seeking not to be mentioned as it will land him in trouble.

He said the executing agency for the civil work was nobody but University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar while the project director was Vice Chancellor Imtiaz Gilani.

Well-informed officials said that the feasibility study for the UoT was carried by Gilani through a consultant that took Rs2.5 million as consultancy fee without meeting the terms of references (ToRs) as envisioned in the annual development programme (ADP) 2014-15.

He said a minister in KP cabinet has also raised objections over the generosity of the provincial government in rehabilitating a sick industrial unit in the guise of running a university.