The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has reached an agreement for buying another 323 kanals of land near Fatehjang for the proposed “New Islamabad International Airport” (NIIA) through a private agent.
However, certain sections have started raising questions about the deal alleging that it violates the Land Acquisition Act. They say that if the deal reached between the CAA and the private agent is executed it may cause a loss of approximately Rs96 million to the government. According to them, the total cost of the land comes to Rs149.42 million at the rate of Rs0.475 million per kanal, as against the prevalent land price of only about Rs150,000 per kanal in the area.
Due to the high price to be paid under the deal, a lot of other land-owners in the area have filed petitions for “additional compensation” for their land and the CAA may get involved in endless litigation.
The agreement signed by the Regional Director (North) and the agent, RV Enterprises Rawalpindi, on Nov 2 binds the agent to acquire the additional land within four weeks, meaning the deal will mature on Dec 2 and final payments made accordingly. The foundation stone of the airport is scheduled to be laid in the last week of this month.
CAA”s general manager, estate, Mohammad Fida who is reported to have expressed serious reservations over the deal, says that the stage of payment under the agreement has not yet reached and the matter of price is likely to be renegotiated with the agent.
Talking to Dawn by telephone from Karachi, a senior CCA official avoided answering a question about the bypassing of procedures for the purchase of land saying the matter was pending and it was being renegotiated. He stressed that since the whole deal was under reassessment it could not be termed final. The agreement remained on paper till the CAA gave its final approval.
Three major violations of the departmental procedure in the deal are: No confirmation of availability of sufficient fund for the purchase was made; approval of competent authority for appointment of a consultant was not taken; and opinion of legal, finance and planning departments was not obtained.
Sources in the CAA revealed that although the agreement mentioned that additional land was urgently needed, the fact was that the land needed for the airport had already been purchased and fenced on all sides.
The deed with the private agent, the sources said, had been reached without any advertisement in newspapers inviting open bids.
Source: The Dawn
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