ISLAMABAD: After being censured by the Supreme Court (SC) the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has taken over possession of 237 kanals from locals of Chattha Bakhtawar for the construction of the King Hamad Nursing University.
CDA had acquired over 900 kanals in Chattha Bakhtawar in 1981 but there was a dispute between locals and the civic agency regarding the compensation amount.
Due to this dispute, the civic agency was unable to get possession of the land. But some years ago, when King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain had announced funding for a nursing university, the CDA had allotted 237 kanals to the health ministry for the construction of the varsity even though it did not have possession of the said land.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had in Jan 2017 laid the foundation stone of the university but construction work could not be started due to the compensation dispute.
SC had recently reprimanded CDA officers for the civic agency’s failure in taking possession of the land and made directions that it should ensure possession.
The civic agency on Wednesday conducted an operation and handed over the land to the health ministry after getting possession. The health ministry will start construction work in collaboration with the government of Bahrain.
CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said that 15 built-up-properties (BUP) were demolished during the operation and that 17 families were given allotment letters for alternative plots in compensation for their demolished BUPs.
He said CDA had also made arrangements to pay compensation on the spot and that cheques were distributed among the people from whom the land was acquired.
“The process was completed amicably and with no untoward incident,” he said, adding that after vacation, the land was handed over to the concerned department.
A camp office has been established at the site for the facilitation of locals whose land has been acquired.
Sources said that CDA had decided to give an 8pc increase in the rate of land per annum from the date of the award announced in 1981 to get possession of the over 900 kanals.
The sources also said that according to the CDA Ordinance of 1960, the civic agency could not give an 8pc increase as it did not get possession of the land.
Clause 32-A of the 1960 ordinance says, “Payment of additional compensation: When the amount of the compensation determined under section 29 and sub section (3) of section 30 is not paid or deposited with the deputy commissioner shall, in addition to such compensation, pay additional compensation computed at the rate of eight per centum per annum on such compensation from the time of so taking the possession until it has been so paid or deposited”.
However, sources said the step was taken as it would have been unfair to compensate locals in 2019 at the rate in vogue in 1981.
CDA Deputy Commissioner Qazi Shoaib said cases related to the Chatta Bakhtawar award had been in litigation in various courts for years.
“So we decided to amicably resolve it,” he said, and that an 8pc per annum amount is justified with the current market rate.
The land award was announced in 1981 but after 35 years, the CDA announced a controversial BUP award in 2016, saying that 782 people were eligible for an initial BUP award.
The National Accountability Bureau is currently conducting an investigation into bogus BUP awards.
Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2019