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CDA’s jewel loses shine

ISLAMABAD, July 8: Only a day after the Capital Development Authority (CDA) launched a housing project for the rich in Zone IV, calling it the “Jewel of Islamabad”, a leading property tycoon came up with a matching offer but at half the price.

A property expert said it was a significant move by Bahria Town, likely to force the civic authority to cut the prices of plots offered in the Park Enclave housing scheme, inaugurated by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on July 5.

A plot of one kanal in the Park Enclave would cost Rs12 million, while Bahria Enclave is offering the same in Zone-IV for Rs6 million. Real estate experts feel that the authority’s jewel may fade away.

“As far as I know we have not issued No Objection Certificate (NOC) to any other housing scheme in Zone-IV,” Ramzan Sajid, spokesman for CDA, told Dawn.

According to zoning regulations 2010, approved by federal Cabinet, he said NOC was mandatory for launching a housing scheme in Zone-IV.

The regulations apply to Zone-V also.The spokesman said he was not aware if any housing society had submitted any document with the “concerned departments or any official of CDA”.

In contrast, the spokeswoman of Bahria Town claimed the big developer has the land in possession and all the “necessary documents and letter from CDA” to launch its Bahria Enclave scheme, just opposite the CDA’s Park Enclave site.

“All documents have been submitted with CDA’s (director general planning) Ghulam Sarwar Sandhu,” Nida Zaheer told Dawn.

Terming the CDA prices “abnormally high”, she said they make it impossible for “a common man to own a plot in Islamabad
When the CDA spokesman was questioned whether the private property tycoon enjoyed better credibility than the CDA, he asserted that “CDA has its own credibility. I don’t want to comment on their (Bahria’s) past track record.” He dismissed Bahria Towns advertisement as “more of a stereotype. There was nothing concrete regarding plots and other such things.”

The CDA is still to complete the D-12 residential sector, which was launched 20 years ago.

Explaining the high prices of CDA plots, he said the Park Enclave will have facilities never offered before in any housing scheme anywhere in Pakistan. The spokesman insisted that the land for the Park Enclave was in the authority’s control and cleared of encroachments. Its completion in a year’s time, he said, would show that the CDA is a “better developer”, hoping it would become one of “our successes”.

The spokesman said the authority was offering around 700 one-kanal plots besides 600 plots of different sizes. “We will be handing over allotment to buyers as per schedule.”

The CDA, which has been in a financial crunch for the last two years, hopes to generate Rs5 billion from the sale of plots in the Park Enclave.

About the timing of launching Bahria Enclave, its spokeswoman said it was not on the cards. “But, after the CDA’s launch, a decision was made to apprise the general public about its abnormally high prices.”

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