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PESHAWAR: Though the launch of the Jalozai special economic zone is just around the corner, the company tasked with developing the industrial estate has neither announced the ‘offer price’ of plots it plans to sell to investors nor has it finalised master plan for the estate.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zones Development and Management Company (EZDMC) had published advertisements in major newspapers on Aug 27 offering industrial plots in the Jalozai special economic zone to the prospective investors.

Curiously, the advertisement didn’t carry important information, including offer price for plots and terms and conditions for allotment.

More than two weeks after this announcement, the company’s executives Dawn spoke to gave contradictory statements about the plot offer price and the project’s approval by the board of directors, and its master planning.

Launch of estate by EZDMC in Nowshera imminent

Sources in the company and industries department insisted that the EZDMC had yet to announce plot offer price approved by the board of directors and that the main reason for it was the ongoing process of the master planning.

A source claimed that the plot offer price had yet to be decided as currently, the Nespak was carrying out the industrial estate’s master planning.

“Following the survey’s completion, the development charges will also be added to the offer price and then it will be placed before the company’s boards for approval,” he said.

The source said the price of a plot measuring an acre was likely to be around Rs20 million due to the area’s location and other factors.

Other sources claimed that the official price of similar size plot at Rs7.5 million in Peshawar industrial estate, Rs5.6 million in Hattar industrial estate and Rs2.5 million in Gadoon industrial estate.

The plan to develop the Jalozai industrial estate in Nowshera district was first conceived in 2003. The 257.5 acres of land was acquired for the purpose at the price of Rs27.10 million under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, later in June 20015.

However, the landowners approached the Peshawar High Court against what they perceived as meagre amount of compensation for their lands.

The PHC in its verdict increased the land compensation amount to Rs738.64 million.

A working paper submitted to the company’s 13th board meeting put the total payable amount of compensation at Rs910 million.

The company had paid Rs200 million to a Nowshera court in 2015 for forward payment to landowners in compensation and Rs500 million on August 31, 2017 against the enhanced land compensation.

A source said of the total area of 257 acres, 40.5 acres of the proposed estate had been reserved for infrastructure, while 97 acres had been allocated for industrialists in the past, leaving a total of 120 acres, which was on offer now.

He said the Nespak was selected as consultant for the project’s master planning and designing, while the estate’s technical feasibility had yet to be completed and therefore, the accurate cost and offer price could not be calculated.

The source said the technical department estimated the plot price to be Rs25.3 million per acre and that after the 25 percent subsidy under the KP Industrial Policy, 2016, the offer price came close to Rs19 million.

One of the company’s executive quoted Rs20 million offer price for an acre plot, while its chief executive officer Mohsin Syed put the price at Rs15 million.

Mr Syed however denied the assertion that the industrial estate’s master planning was not complete and that the board of directors had yet not approved the plot offer price.

“The master planning is complete, while the board has approved the offer price,” he said.

However, the minutes of 12th board meeting, which took place on May 25 and available with Dawn, show that the Jalozai industrial estate’s offer price was not on the agenda of the meeting.

The issue of the Jalozai estate plot price came up for discussion in the 13th EZDMC board meeting, which took place on Aug 10, while the minutes of 14th board meeting, which was held on Aug 17, show that the board approved Rs2.5 million for the Jalozai groundbreaking ceremony.

Mr Syed said the offer price went up due to the enhanced compensation price to the landowners.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017