ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has directed formation of a committee to investigate failure of the authorities to clear dues of residents whose land had been acquired by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) but their compensation was still pending.
According to minutes of a cabinet meeting held last week, “for immediate purpose a committee having representation of Ministry of Interior, CDA and ICT might be constituted to cause a probe regarding failure on part of the concerned authorities who violated the power of eminent domain resulting in the denial/delay of the citizens’ right to be compensated which had been acknowledged”.
The probe would be headed by a retired judge of the high court or equivalent and decided within 90 days of his appointment. During the proceedings of this committee, the CDA would continue its functioning as per its statutory mandate.
The cabinet also decided that CDA board as per section 5 of CDA Ordinance 1960 will act as the apex body for grievance redressal. The minutes further stated that applications will be received by secretary of the board who after getting views/comments of formations concerned should submit the case to the board within three weeks of submission of the application.
“The Board after perusing the application and comments from the concerned formation of otherwise hearing the applicant should pass a speaking order within three months’ time after submission of the application to Board. If no order was passed within three months time, the grievance would deemed to be found in order and eligible for compensation/rehabilitation benefit as the case might be,” read the minutes.
Furthermore, it was decided that CDA will provide E-12 sector’s development plan along with timelines for approval of the committee [cabinet committee] in the next meeting.
It is relevant to note here that E-12 was acquired in the 80s and in 1989, the CDA auctioned plots to over 4,000 citizens, mainly government officials.
However, despite the passage of 32 years, this sector was not developed and sources said that those who were issued allotment letters in 1989 have already passed away while waiting to have their promised developed plots, but to no avail.
Another reason the CDA failed to develop the sector is because it could not get possession of land from local landlords so far. Sources said that the government is seriously pursuing the case of this sector and soon, the issue of getting possession of the land from locals will be resolved and proper development will begin.
The minutes stated that cases where cash compensation had not been made to claimants whose title was clear and complete would be taken to the assessment committee under proposed 32-A of CDA Ordinance. “The same principle should also apply to land acquisition cases where land sharing formula was not applicable and consequent cash compensation was pending (partially or completely) be made by CDA,”
According to the minutes, it is an acknowledged fact that the majority of claims in Islamabad were dealt with through power of attorney and therefore the matter was directed to be taken up by the CDA Board at the earliest.
Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2021