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RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) removed the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) boundary markers on Thursday, claiming that they were placed in the cantonment areas’ limits illegally.

The CDA, however, said the cement pillars were placed to identify the boundaries of the capital on directives from the Supreme Court.

Pillars that identified the boundary of Islamabad were removed by RCB enforcement staff from Bhatta Chowk and private housing scheme British Homes.

A senior RCB official told Dawn there was empty land on the boundary of Rawalpindi and Islamabad at Bhatta Chowk that was used as a landfill site five years ago, which the RCB now plans to turn into a housing scheme.

RCB staff visited the area to remove encroachments and found boundary markers erected by the CDA. Enforcement staff told RCB officials, and were asked to remove the markers immediately.

RCB spokesperson Qaisar Mehmood, when contacted, said the CDA had acted illegally when it placed the pillars in the cantonment’s limits, and that the pillars were removed.

“There is no demarcation of boundary limits between the cantonment and the Islamabad administration, the RCB will not accept any such demarcation without conducting a joint exercise,” he said.

He said the RCB has already written to the federal government through the Ministry of Defence asking it to play its role to resolve the matter.

He said the disputed areas consist of 2,509 acres of land and a population of around 85,000.

They are controlled by the RCB under the 1924 Cantonment Act.

Because of the dispute between the boundaries of Islamabad and the RCB, Mr Mehmood said the board is suffering a loss of Rs357 million as well as multiple administrative and security lapses and its writ, which is unavoidable to effectively perform obligatory and discretionary functions entrusted upon the institution as a municipal government functionary.

“The total housing units are 2,532 and commercial units are 471, and all the owners are not paying taxes to the RCB despite the many development works the civic body has made on grant from the Punjab government,” he said.

CDA spokesperson Safdar Ali Shah said the CDA had begun a campaign to identify the limits of Islamabad with the help of the Islamabad Capital Territory administration and Survey of Pakistan.

The campaign was launched on a SC directive, he added, and the demarcation was carried out with the help of Survey of Pakistan.

Mr Shah said all the pillars were installed on the boundary of Islamabad, and the actions were not illegal. He added that this activity would be completed within three months.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2018