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CDA to return land it acquired

ISLAMABAD, Sept 22: Cash-strapped city managers have no money to pay for the land they had acquired years ago for settlement and want it returned to the owners.

“We are seeking de-acquisition powers already enjoyed by civic authorities all over the country but which, somehow, don’t find place in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Ordinance,” CDA chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi told Dawn.

“Land that the CDA acquired but has not the resources to develop should be returned to owners. We are already burdened with Rs35 billion liabilities,” he said.

Sources in the CDA said the city managers intend to propose to the CDA Board when it meets on Saturday to amend the municipal laws to enable them to do that.

If accepted, as expected, the proposal would be forwarded to the federal cabinet for approval and to the law ministry for acting upon it.

Insiders say the move of “de-acquiring the acquired land” has many dimensions, including CDA bosses’ possible disinterest in developing new residential sectors in the federal capital. That leaves the field open to private land developers and haphazard and unchecked construction activities in a hungry market.

According to the CDA chief, only the lands whose owner have not been compensated, or compensated partially, will be de-acquired. Fully paid up land will remain with the CDA.

CDA Member Planning Tahir Shamshad however said that the land acquired for Sectors H-16 and I-17 will also be de-acquired, although CDA has paid more than Rs1 billion in compensation to two big landholders.

Originally, the vast land of the two sectors was acquired for establishing an industrial zone but later the plan was changed to developing residential area.

Insiders suspected the change in the law will also be applied to Sector C-14 where private developer owns about 1,600 kanals.

The remaining 1,000 kanals in the sector belong to the CDA. The remaining 1,000 kanals in the sector belong to the CDA.

Sector C-14 is comparatively smaller in size compared to other residential sectors of the city but more attractive to investors because of its location in the foothills of Margallas. It is said CDA desires to go into joint venture (JV) with the firm there.

Recently, the CDA had to give up its Northern Strip joint venture after the Supreme Court ruled against it. Now the venture partner, Multi-Professional Cooperative Housing Society, is demanding the de-acquisition of its 1,600 kanals of land in the area.

Meanwhile, with the CDA steeped in its financial problems, haphazard and ill-planned construction activities continue in localities like Bhara Kahu, Golra and Turnol. CDA chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi agreed that the situation needed monitoring but his organisation looks on helplessly. CDA writ is not visible even in the developed sectors G-12 and F-12.

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