ISLAMABAD: Despite including it in its 2019-20 budget document, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has not pursued its case to obtain more than 700 plots from the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) in exchange for land.

The authority has failed to get 727 plots from DHA, in exchange for land it gave to the housing development, for 12 years.

The CDA’s 2019-20 budget document, which pointed out revenue generation proposals, stated that: “According to agreement between CDA and DHA, about 700 plots of different sizes are to be made available to CDA by DHA. Concrete steps are required to be taken by concerned formations to materialise the same the earliest.”

However, sources said that the CDA’s approach in this case has been half-hearted.

“The CDA gave DHA a large piece of land in Zone V against which the DHA allocated more than 720 plots. The CDA has to pay Rs120 million as a transfer fee to obtain the plots, but it has not done anything to obtain the plots – which have a value of more than Rs6 billion – so far,” a CDA officer, who asked not to be named, said.

CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said the authority was all set to take over the plots, as its estate wing recently moved a summary to the finance wing to release the transfer fee.

“Now the summary is lying with the law directorate, as there is also a court case in this regard,” he said, adding that once the plots are handed over to the CDA, they will be auctioned and the funds generated will be spent on development projects.

DHA began taking over CDA land in Humak, Sihala and Rawat in 2005. The land had been acquired by the CDA between 1963 and 1965 to develop the Islamabad Expressway and an industrial area.

DHA told the CDA in 2006-07 that it would compensate the CDA by allotting around 700 kanals of developed 500 square yard plots against the nearly 2,500 kanals of undeveloped land it had taken over. The CDA has yet to avail DHA’s offer.

Mr Ali said that in the past, the CDA board had also decided to take over the plots and that the authority was serious about doing so. Asked if the authority was using delaying tactics because of the transfer fee, he said there was no issue regarding the fee.

He reiterated: “We are working on this project. Our summary, which was finalised by the estate wing, is under discussion at the law wing. There is a court case, which is why we are facing some issues.”

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2020