ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was informed on Wednesday that Monal Restaurant was built on land owned by the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
A subcommittee of PAC headed by Riaz Fatyana while discussing Audit paras for the year 2018-19 was told that according to recent demarcation, it has been established that Monal was built on CDA’s land.
The restaurant was built by the CDA in 2005-6 with its own resources and leased to a private party for 15 years.
The lease agreement, according to some officials, will expire this year. A few years ago, General Headquarters (GHQ) Remount Veterinary and Farms Directorate, based on demarcation carried out by Survey of Pakistan, had stated that Monal was built on their land, therefore, the CDA had no right to operate on their land. The directorate also wrote several letters to CDA and Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA).
DMA is a subsidiary organisation of Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and is supposed to deal with the said property.
Deputy Director General (Revenue) Tariq Latif informed the committee that dues of the restaurant until 2018 have been cleared. He said that there is “an issue [related to this property] which will be dealt by Ministry of Interior” and the lease will expire by 2023.
Committee member Senator Talha Mahmood also asked about another restaurant, La Montana operating adjacent to Monal.
He was told by CDA’s Member Finance Rana Shakeel Asghar that the authority recently completed an inquiry related to La Montana, which will be shared with committee before the next meeting.
The debate began when committee members were discussing the audit para related to non-recovery of Rs455 million of rent against CDA’s 79 acre land in Saidpur village. Members were told that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been investigating this case and reference has also been filed.
The committee directed CDA and MCI to submit a detailed report to the committee regarding the land, which has been leased or rented out by both organisations. CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed told the committee that without a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from CDA, MCI could not lease out land to anyone.
Meanwhile, the committee was told by secretary interior that as per the direction of PAC, an inquiry has been conducted regarding built-up property (BuP) award announced in 2016 and the inquiry committee stated that there was no justification of announcing second award. The committee recommended action against those, who failed to protect state land after the first award.
According to the audit para, the award of 22 BuPs was announced besides allotment of residential plots. These BuPs were in fact illegal constructions after the announcement of original award dated 15-05-1972 due to non taking possession of the respective village timely.
“Non taking of possession of the land acquired resulted into loss of Rs117.9 million.”
Earlier, another audit part related to allotment of plots to persons whose land was acquired by CDA for construction of Islamic University in sector H-10 was discussed. The committee directed CDA to submit details of all public sector universities, which had been allotted huge pieces of land.
There is no justification for allotting an entire sector for construction of one university, a committee member said.
Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2021