The capital’s civic agency in sheer violation of policy and through corrupt practices continues to restore allotment of prized commercial plots cancelled decades ago.
Documents obtained by The Express Tribune suggest a number of plots worth millions of rupees located at different commercial centres have been restored by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in recent past. The allotment of plots was cancelled primarily because of non-payment of premium amount, some over two decades ago.
According to the Restoration Policy framed last year, the CDA could only entertain restoration request made within one year from the date of cancellation of a plot. But documents suggest the same policy has recently been applied to restore plots cancelled back in 1994.
Although new prices have been calculated while restoring these plots, their seemed a great disparity between the prices calculated by the civic agency and the open market rates.
Restoration Policy 2014
The policy was devised by the incumbent management after it proved that previous policy has been misused by some corrupt elements.
The CDA restored 11 commercial and residential plots — some of them cancelled in 80s — during the last five years misusing the previous policy.
Sometimes an owner fails to submit cost of plot he manages to win by offering highest bid in open auction. Such plots are cancelled by the CDA.
“Restoration Policy 2014 was framed to stop investors from reclaiming plots the agency had cancelled years later at the former price,” said a senior official of the Estate Management Wing.
After it came into force, it repealed all previous policies, board decisions, and ultimate discretionary powers of the CDA board members in this regard.
“The authority may consider request for restoration of allotment of plots, made within one year from the date of cancellation for non-payment of premium,” says an excerpt of the policy.
“The policy clearly says only that request will be entertained made within one year of cancellation,” the official explained.
Plot No. 3-A
The CDA has recently informed Zafar Iqbal that his commercial plot number 3-A at Sector I-8/3, which was cancelled in 1996, has been restored in 2015 for a 99 years lease.
Iqbal was allotted the plot in 1994 for construction of a two-storey building that is shops on ground floor and flats on upper floor. However, Iqbal at that time did not submit the premium amount consequently allotment of the plot was cancelled.
In 2015, some 21 years later, he moved the application for restoration. The CDA processed it despite the fact that it was not entitled to do so.
A price determination committee of the CDA calculated new cost of the plot at Rs9.8 million as restoration charges besides another Rs1.4 million, an amount offered by the allottee in 1994.
Real estate value of commercial properties in Sector I-8 is far beyond this amount. “A residential plot costs nearly Rs40 million in the sector currently. While this commercial plot was given at a total cost of Rs11.2 million,” said estate management officials.
Similarly a number of other commercial and residential plots were also restored in clear violation of the policy and against prices much lower than actual current market price.
The civic agency spokesperson Ramzan Sajid said he is unaware of the issue. He said the relevant department would be asked for its point of view over the issue.
Deputy Director General (Land and Estate) Hamza Shafqat was tried to contact but he was not available for comments.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2015.