ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Administration (CDA) is considering postponing an auction of commercial plots scheduled to be held from April 14 to April 16.
The CDA had announced the auction of plots on the G-9 side of Blue Area last month and officials had said it had the potential of generating around Rs30 billion in revenue. Prime Minister Imran Khan also visited the area last month to see the layout plan for the plots.
However, sources in the authority said the auction will likely be postponed in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“There are already lockdowns in Sindh and Punjab, so our investors could not reach Islamabad. That means the auction will not achieve its target if it is held on the scheduled date,” a CDA officer said.
He added that the auctions are held in a calm atmosphere, not in emergency-like situations of the kind prevailing in Islamabad at the moment.
The auction of plots on the G-9 side of Blue Area is expected to generate around Rs30bn in revenue
Another senior officer also said the auction would be postponed.
“There is no justification for holding an auction of commercial plots worth billions of rupees in the current atmosphere, when section 144 has already been imposed in the city because of the coronavirus,” he said, adding that at a time when people are concerned with their health they will not take any interest in an auction even if it is held on the scheduled dates.
“Weddings are being cancelled because of the coronavirus. How can we hold the auction on the scheduled date? In the current circumstances, let me say that there are valid grounds to say that this auction will be postponed,” he said.
CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed said the situation will be reviewed in the coming days.
“We have not announced the postponement of the auction so far, but we will review it in the first week of April and if the need arises, we will postpone the auction,” he said.
The CDA is offering a package to attract investors that includes a 10pc rebate for successful bidders if they pay in one go and in a month, instead of paying the first instalment of 25pc in 10 days. Successful bidders will also be allowed to deposit advance taxes in plot instalments.
Bidders typically pay for the plot is four instalments over a year; 5pc of the total income generated by the auction will be spent on developing both the new and old parts of Blue Area by providing better facilities for investors and the business community.
Sources in the authority said that after the auction the CDA would also help the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority provide better living facilities to slum residents, as a project will soon begin in I-9 to allot apartments to slum residents.
Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2020