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CDA set to sell off Margalla Towers plot

ISLAMABAD – The city managers are expecting best possible returns, at least equivalent to a hefty amount the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has paid to the families of victims of ill-fated Margalla Towers, from the sale of ex-Margalla Towers plot along with the leftover structure.

As many as 23 firms have submitted documents of Expression of Interest (EoI) with the Capital Development Authority for an auction of land where ex-Margalla Towers plot would also be presented for sale along with six other commercial plots across the capital. The CDA Pre-qualification Committee on Thursday opened the documents of EoI following which the process of pre qualification of interested firms has been started. Only pre-qualified firms would take part in grand auction that is scheduled in first week of March.

Apparently, the funds generation through the auction of precious land by CDA that has been falling further and further into financial quagmire with every passing day is the only option left for the city managers to run day-to-day affairs of the Authority. The auction if it happened successfully of ex-Margalla Towers plot would provide breathing space to the cash starved authority while the leftover structure of ill-fated building will not be there for media criticism on 7th anniversary of 2005 earthquake.

Ex-Margalla Towers plot measuring 11750 square yards located in F-10 Markaz is meant for the construction of residential apartments and a shopping mall on ground floor only.

The plot would be auctioned on as-is-where-is basis. Margalla Towers was the sole building in the federal capital whose one and a half of the three blocks were collapsed in destructive earthquake of 2005 claiming lives of 74 residents of the towers. Following a judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the civic agency had paid Rs1.75 billion as compensation to owners of some 75 residential apartments of the building.

Earlier, during an auction a bidder has offered Rs1.35 billion against the plot and leftover structure but the CDA Board has turned down the bid taking ground that amount offered was lesser than the compensation paid by the Authority to victims.

After the earthquake the area residents had demanded of the civic body to remove the leftover structure at earliest.

Following the increasing demands, in year 2008 CDA desired to demolish the remaining structure of towers by adopting a controlled non-explosive methodology and bids from interested firms were sought for the purpose.

The total area that was to be demolished from basement to 10th floor was 291063 square feet approximately.

During the bidding process some eight interested firms have offered bids for the work. Out of them two firms were short-listed but later one of the selected firms moved the court against bidding process leaving the demolition task in doldrums.

For some previous years, the structure is serving as hideout for anti social elements including drug addicts that is a continuous source of danger for area dwellers.

Besides Margalla Towers plot, Plot No. 11-A measuring 1000 square yards in F-10 Markaz (CDA’s old enquiry office), plot no. 8-B measuring 2500 square yards located next to Melody Market G-6/3, Plot No. 14-A measuring 1.59 acres in Diplomatic Enclave, Plot No. 56-D measuring 4888 square yards located in Blue Area F-6/G-6, and two plots each measuring 2666.67 square yards in Blue Area would also be offered for auction.

When contacted CDA Spokesperson Ramzan Sajid he said the plot would be sold on the basis of as-is-where-is. He said CDA is expecting a resounding response from the bidders in upcoming auction.

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