RAWALPINDI, Aug 30: Hard pressed by cash crunch, the Punjab government has asked City District Government of Rawalpindi to come to its rescue by selling state land and re-auctioning the contract of stalls at the city`s food street.Sources told Dawn on Monday that the provincial government had directed the CDGR to sell 36 kanals land at Fawara Chowk as soon as possible.
They said the CDGR had also been directed to re-auction the contract of the Stadium Road Food Street because at present stallholders there were paying nominal annual fees.
On the directives of the provincial government, the CDGR asked the revenue department to assess the value of the land at Fawara Chowk and invite investors after Eidul Fitr.
The 36-kanal land currently houses the offices of the defunct Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation (13 kanals), Rawalpindi Tehsil (12 kanals) and CIA police`s Kotawali (11 kanals).
The provincial government had tried to sell the land through the Punjab Privatization Commission in January this year but not a single investor came to the bidding.
The sources said the CDGR was likely to sell the land in small pieces at the rate of Rs4.5 million per marla. However, the value of the land is said to be much higher as it is located at the centre of the city`s commercial hub.
To expedite the process and attract buyers, the CDGR has already shifted the tehsil offices to a building adjacent to the commissioner offices. Though the land belonged to the Rawal Town Municipal Administration, the provincial government has already got possession of it in order to sell the property and generate needed funds. Earlier, the provincial government had also auctioned vehicles belonging to both the Rawal and Potohar town nazims.
Regarding the re-auctioning of the food street contract, the sources said at present stallholders were paying Rs216 per square yard annually which was considered nominal. The CDGR has completed the home work for the re-auctioning and would carry it out after Eidul Fitr.
When contacted, District Officer Revenue Talat Mehmood Gondal confirmed that the CDGR would go ahead with both the projects.
It may be mentioned that former Rawal Town Council had approved in 2007 the construction of two multi-storey parking plazas â€“ near the former office of the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation and at Banni Market - to resolve the traffic problem. However, the project could not be executed due to paucity of funds.