ISLAMABAD, June 19: That the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is in dire financial straits is well known, but is selling its land assets is the only way out of it?

“It is the easy way out to raise Rs20 billion as the CDA’s 2013-14 budget of Rs33 billion proposes. Why not close the loopholes first that seem purposely left open to the benefit of some,” said an insider, claiming that the CDA loses around Rs1 billion by not regulating the transfer fees of apartments built in the city.“More than 35 apartment buildings, including the towering Centaurus and Constitution 1 complexes, have risen in the up-scale residential sectors and the Diplomatic Enclave but during that last four decades the CDA has not charged a single rupee under the head of transfer fee from the apartments,” the insider told Dawn.

On the other hand, the property developers who built them have their own fee structures and reaped between Rs80,000 and Rs100,000 for each apartment from the buyer.

According to the source, the CDA does charge a transfer fee but only on the sale of residential plots to individual – not developers. The fee ranges between Rs35,000 and Rs50,000 depending on the size of the plot.

While the CDA Board has sat over regulating a proper transfer fee structure, the Punjab government has laid down one for the neighbouring Rawalpindi, which the Rawalpindi Development Authority is implementing to the benefit of the garrison city, noted the insider.

Asked for his comments, CDA chairman Syed Tahir Shahbaz said: “We are working on this task of cashing on the transfer fee of residential buildings.”

However, he did not specify any time for that, nor distinguish between high-rise apartment buildings and residential buildings. “We want to regulate the purchases but it is a big task and may take some time to accomplish,” he said.

The CDA largely depends on the revenue generated by the sale and purchase of residential and commercial plots.

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