CDA yet to start action against non-conforming use of farmhouses

Published May 7, 2021
Sources said during the last two months, the civic agency issued the notices warning the owners of farmhouses to produce agricultural products as per their agreement. — Photo by Mohammad Asim/File
Sources said during the last two months, the civic agency issued the notices warning the owners of farmhouses to produce agricultural products as per their agreement. — Photo by Mohammad Asim/File

ISLAMABAD: After issuing notices to owners of over 200 farmhouses for non-conforming use of the plots, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has failed to take further action.

Sources said during the last two months, the civic agency issued the notices warning the owners of farmhouses to produce agricultural products as per their agreement.

An inspector of the building control section said over 200 notices had been issued to the owners and show-cause notices sent to around 100 leaseholders.

“The seven-day grace period in show-cause notices has also expired, but action is yet to be started,” he said.

The inspector said there were 605 agro plots (300 for orchards and 305 for poultry and vegetables).

He said 525 plots were being used under non-conforming use.

Owners asked to produce agricultural products but they did not take order seriously, says official

There are 81 plots with excess covered areas and 48 allotted plots are still undeveloped.

Another official of the CDA said out of the 605 agro plots 525 were under non-conforming use but the CDA was yet to initiate action against the owners.

“We have been carrying out operations against commercial buildings and other violations but the real test of the management will be in taking action against the farmhouse owners,” he said.

Meanwhile, a senior officer said the CDA management in February this year through a public notice had warned and then issued notices to all allottees of farmhouses.

“We are seriously pursuing this case and soon will take action against the violators. In the first stage, we want to motivate the owners to end non-conforming use of the plots but if they fail to do so we will start action,” he said.

According to CDA record, the 605 vegetable, fruit and poultry farms were supposed to cultivate fruits and vegetables to meet the need of the residents of the city. But majority of these farms have been turned into palatial houses by the owners.

These farms are located in various areas such as Park Road Chak Shahzad, Kahuta Road, Murree Road, Tarlai Kalan, Sehana and in H-9. Sources said many leaseholders have even made excessive constructions.

They said leaseholders were permitted 9,500 sq ft covered area (for houses) with additional 3,000 sq ft with a fine.

Whereas, the owners have shown little interest in cultivation, the main reason these farmlands were allotted on nominal prices.

Officials said that in the 70s when the CDA started allotting farmhouses, the allowed covered area was 2,500 sq ft. But with the passage of time, the CDA kept increasing the size and currently 9,500 sq ft covered area is legally allowed with additional 3000 sq ft with fine.

The officials said majority of initial allottees, who were allotted the agriculture plots against nominal price or against the land acquired by CDA in various parts of the city, later sold out these agricultural plots to others.

In February, through a public notice the CDA stated: “It has also been noticed that most of the owners of such farms are not using the same for the purpose these farms are meant for i.e. agro farming in violation of the terms and conditions of the allotment. As a result of these violations, the purpose of the agro farming schemes is not being achieved. Now, the authority has decided to take action against all those owners of agro-farms who have failed to comply with terms and conditions of allotments and regulations of the CDA.”

Through the notices, the CDA directed all non-compliant farms and land owners in agro-farming schemes to demolish the area constructed in excess of 9,500 or get the covered area regularised (9,501 sq ft - 12,500 sq ft) by paying the prescribed charges and demolish any area beyond 12,500 sq ft. And also bring the farms to conformity use by farming as per conditions of the allotment. But, it seems, the leaseholders have not taken the notices seriously.

When contacted, CDA’s member estate and planning Naveed Ilahi said the civic agency had decided to take action against the violators.

“We have issued notices while show-cause notices have also been issued to many leaseholders. Soon we will start action,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2021

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