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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to place the Capital Development Authority (CDA) under the administrative control of the interior ministry.

The civic body was till now under the administrative control of the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), but the cabinet on Thursday decided to abolish CADD.

The government also decided that CADD’s functions will be divided among various ministries such as the education department will be placed under the federal education ministry and the health department under the Ministry of National Health Services.

Cabinet abolishes CADD, divides its functions between various ministries

Placing the CDA under the interior ministry is expected to improve service delivery as the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration, police and the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad are already under this ministry.

After the cabinet meeting, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced the decision to abolish CADD at a press conference. He said the CDA would be placed under the administrative control of the interior ministry.

CDA was part of the interior ministry in the past. It was given to the Cabinet Division and then to CADD.

The information minister said CDA’s anti-encroachment operation would continue and that in the ongoing operation the civic agency had retrieved land worth Rs7.5 billion from encroachers.

He said 34,459 kanals used for guest houses across the country would now be used for commercial purposes and that 70,335 kanals of state land in the country was not being utilised.

Asked if there will be action against the CDA officials who were accused of having helped the encroachers, the minister said the issue would be looked at during a later stage and that the government for now wanted to retrieve land from encroachers.

The CDA has been conducting an anti-encroachment operation with the support of the ICT administration and State Minister for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi has been directly monitoring the operation.

A few days ago, he visited G-12 where CDA’s team was removing encroachments from the right of way of the Kashmir Highway and encouraged the operation team.

On Thursday, he visited Zone-IV, where over 28,000 kanals of CDA land, worth tens of billions of rupees, is under the illegal occupation of individuals and housing societies.

The minister appreciated the CDA chairman’s efforts and that of Member Estate Khushal Khan, who is leading the operation. Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqat directed them to conduct the operation without any fear.

Mr Afridi said action would not be taken against the poor and that during the first phase action would only be taken against influential elements. The interior minister criticised the previous CDA management and police for not protecting the civic agency’s land.

On Thursday, the CDA started demarcating its land in a part of Zone-IV where over 1,000 kanals is under the illegal occupation of a housing society. CDA and ICT officials are conducting the demarcation together.

CADD was established in 2011 following the devolution of ministries to the provinces and it supervised education and health even though there were ministries for these.

Many officials believe successive governments kept CADD in order to accommodate their ministers.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2018