CDA workers use heavy machinery to dismantle encroachments at Centaurus Mall on Tuesday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
CDA workers use heavy machinery to dismantle encroachments at Centaurus Mall on Tuesday. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) spent Tuesday removing encroachments by Centaurus Mall, and decided it will also remove encroachments from the right-of-way of major roads in the capital within 48 hours.

The CDA has directed the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad’s Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) to withdraw permission given to private individuals to use state land that was given without prior approval from the CDA’s planning wing.

The authority’s enforcement teams demolished construction and encroachment by Centaurus Mall and has cleared a portion of the Nazimuddin Road right-of-way.

On Tuesday, enforcement team cleared Nazimuddin Road of encroachments by Centaurus Mall

The CDA chairman and board members also met at CDA headquarters to review the anti-encroachment drive in view of a recent Supreme Court hearing in which the authority was reprimanded for failing to remove encroachments.

The SC is currently hearing a case related to encroachment.

CDA high-ups at the meeting decided to expedite the drive. According to a statement issued after the meeting, the director general works “was tasked to ensure that violations on right of ways should be cleared within 48 hours. In this context major roads such as Margalla Road, Nazimuddin Road, IJP Road should be carried out from [Wednesday].”

The statement added that the anti-encroachment drive on the G.T. Road right-of-way in Rawat and the Tarnol area should also be expedited. Similarly, violations outside plot boundaries are to be removed as well, and public notices have been issued repeated in this regard.

“If any violation persists the same may be either removed by occupant themselves or CDA will remove the same,” the statement said.

I.J. Principal Road right-of-way

The CDA owns land worth billions of rupees along I.J. Principal Road, much of which remains under illegal occupation.

The CDA owns a long strip of commercial land alongside I.J. Principal Road from Faizabad, Peshawar Road up to the G.T. Road, but has so far failed to utilise it.

A large portion of this land is currently held by land grabbers, allegedly with the support of elements in the enforcement directorate, who have used it for commercial ventures such as bus terminals, car wash stations and hotels.

The CDA owns the 11-kilometre long and 300 feet wide right-of-way along with a 150ft-wide strip of commercial land, most of which is occupied.

D-12 anti-encroachment operation

A CDA enforcement team also attempted to remove encroachment on its land, but faced resistance.

The CDA said that a private individual has built a room, alongside his legitimate house, on land that belongs to the authority. However, according to the enforcement team, the resisting individuals claimed that the land does not belong to the CDA. They also unleashed their dog on the team.

CDA Inspector Malik Bilal Zafar has filed an application with the Golra police stating that his team tried to remove an under-construction room in D-12/2 but a retired brigadier and his son resisted the move and unleashed their dog on the team.

“A retired brigadier resisted our operation and also unleashed his dog on the CDA team. We have filed an application against this person with the police station for legal action,” CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali confirmed.

While discussing Tuesday’s meeting on encroachments on right-of-ways, he said the CDA has decided to launch a full-fledged operation to clear the right-of-ways of all major roads.

Asked if the CDA will be able to retrieve the right-of-ways in 48 hours, he said: “The top management has been pursuing the case dedicatedly. Today, all formations have been directed to carryout operations.”

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2019