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SC seeks list of farmland owners

May 15, 2013

ISLAMABAD, May 14: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) will provide a list of individuals holding farmland in the capital to the Supreme Court.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry is seized with the controversy on Tuesday ordered the CDA to provide the list.

The leased farmlands have been converted into palatial farmhouses where even marriage halls have sprung up in violation of leasing deeds.

On April 18 the court had ordered the CDA to restore all the 504 farmhouses to the status as envisaged in the original lease deal.

On Tuesday, advocate Afnan Kundi, representing CDA, told the apex court that the authority was restoring the original status of the farmlands and placed on record the summary of the decisions taken by CDA in this regard.

He argued that a number of notices had been sent to the allottees with a warning to restore the original position of the lands within 45 days.

The original lease deal allows raising single storey construction on a covered area ranging between 2,500 to 4,000 square feet.

But a CDA board meeting on May 17, 1994 legalised the construction of infrastructure on the covered area of 10,000 square feet.

Even this could not satisfy the owners who went ahead with building infrastructure in many cases over 12,500 square feet.

Kundi conceded that the additional area was given without any rationale and justification, which should be declared, void ab initio and reverted to its original position of 4,850 square feet.

Director State Management, CDA, Aslam Chaudhry told the court that in early 70s the plots for setting up agro-farms were distributed to attract the people.

Later on, such plots were given on the recommendations of the seniors of the CDA, but the practice was stopped in 80s.

Explaining further, he said there were three categories of the allottees.

First were the displaced persons whose agriculture lands were acquired by the government at the time when the capital was being developed.

They were awarded these lands with an idea not only to rehabilitate them but also to ensure steady supply of agri-products, fruits, vegetables and poultry for the citizens of Islamabad.

Those who were given plots on the recommendation of the seniors fall in the second category while the third category is of those who purchased leased out rights.

Out of the total 504 farm-houses, 300 agro-lands are still without any construction.

Agro-farming is being done in one way or the other in suburban areas of Islamabad, including Chak Shahzad, Murree Road, Kahuta Road, Tarlai Kalan and Sector H-9.

The apex court ordered the chairman CDA to take indiscriminate action against the owners of those farmlands who violated the contract and using the agriculture farmlands for commercial purposes. The case was adjourned for indefinite period.