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Northern Strip: Greed leads to changes in site plan

ISLAMABAD, Sept 25: The Capital Development Authority has changed the site plan of the Northern Strip, a newly-developed 54-acre commercial and housing area in E-11 sector, to create more residential plots and earn extra money.

“We have changed the site plan of the Northern Strip and increased the number of residential plots from 62 to 100. The CDA board in exercise of its powers made these changes,” said a senior official of the civic agency on condition of anonymity.

When contacted, CDA spokesman Ramzan Sajid said the number of plots had been increased without changing the basic plan. “We have offered 70 plots for sale and the last date for filing of applications is Sept 26,” the spokesman said.

He said the remaining 30 residential plots would be sold later, adding whether they should be marketed through an open auction or any other mode of sale was yet to be decided.

Inside sources said the cash-strapped authority had also reduced the size of public utility plots and removed an entertainment area from the original site plan of the scheme to create more saleable plots.

“We have removed the entertainment area from the original plan where a Cineplex and other entertainment outlets were planned,” the official said.

The sources said the authority had also reduced the size of a proposed school in the plan.

The almost one km-long Northern Strip was developed by Multi Professional Cooperative Housing Society (MPCHS).

According to the original plan, the scheme was to house a five-star hotel, high and medium rise apartment buildings, a super mart, filling station, hospital, an education enclave, two office buildings, an entertainment enclave, 12 commercial buildings and 55 residential plots.

Sector E-11 is one of the costliest residential areas in Islamabad and the CDA is likely to fetch over Rs15 billion by selling commercial and residential plots in it.

The Supreme Court, which had rejected the joint venture between the CDA and the housing society in a suo motu notice, gave its verdict in April this year, handing over the control on the entire land to the CDA instead of implementing the plot-sharing formula between the housing society and the civic agency at the ratio of 43:57.

The cooperative housing society had sent a letter to the CDA that the civic body could not make any change to the plan. Similarly, the CDA could not sell plots unless Rs1.89 billion claim submitted by the society was paid, the letter said.

The joint venture was started in 2008 and completed in November 2010.

The housing society had submitted Rs1.8 billion claims for clearing the land from illegal possession and laying infrastructure in it.

On the directives of Supreme Court, the CDA formed a committee to assess the claims submitted by the builder.

The joint venture became controversial when the apex court was informed that some undue favours had been given to the cooperative society in award of the contract.

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