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C-14 development CDA reviews agreement with private firm

ISLAMABAD, March 16: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is reviewing an agreement it had signed with a private construction firm to develop a new residential sector in the foothills of Margalla by violating its own land-sharing formula applied in the recently-acquired sectors, sources in the civic body told Dawn on Wednesday.

The agreement signed with Habib Rafique Limited (HRL) in April last year was reviewed at a special meeting presided over by CDA Chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi at Jinnah Convention Centre.

After the CDA planning wing officials briefed Mr Elahi, it was decided that a committee would be formed to look into the matter, said CDA member planning Tahir Shamshad.

The meeting came to know that the detail of land provided by the private firm was inaccurate as it owned quite less land compared to its claim made at the time of the agreement signing, said the sources.

It was for the first time in the history of Islamabad that the CDA signed such an agreement with a private firm under which the residential sector of C-14 would be developed and after provision of all infrastructure facilities its total plots would be shared by the CDA and the firm with a ratio of 40:60.

The triangular-shaped Sector C-14 Islamabad is comparatively shorter in size as it is located in the foothills of Margalla and its total area is 2,600 kanals while the size of a normal sector is about 8,000 kanals.

“The firm owns some 1,600 kanals in the sector and the land belonging to the CDA is over 1,000 kanals,” an official of the authority said on condition of anonymity.

However, the meeting was informed that the firm had only 1,320 kanals, a big chunk of it outside the limits of the proposed sector.

An official of the CDA said developing a sector as a joint venture with a private firm was a good concept but the formula should be applied in those sectors where CDA had failed to acquire land from villagers and other landholders – not in sectors that are already cleared from encroachments like C-14.

It is believed that the authority has provided some sort of `favour` to the construction firm by agreeing on the land sharing after development. The CDA has already applied its approved land-sharing formula in the recently-acquired sectors like I-17, H-17, F-13, E-13 under which one kanal developed plot is given to the owner of four-kanal raw land.

If this formula would have been implemented in C-14, HRL would have received 200 to 300 kanals of land. But now, being the biggest land holder in the area, it will get over 60 per cent of the total developed land (both residential and commercial). In reply, the firm will bear development expanses.

In normal sectors measuring about 8,000 kanals, the development cost ranges between Rs2 and Rs3 billion; but in C-14, which has only 2600 kanals, Rs1 to Rs1.5 billion would be needed and the money to be generated by the firm by selling its share in the land would be much higher than the development cost of the sector.

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