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Agro farm owners given seven-day deadline

April 11, 2013

ISLAMABAD, April 10: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Wednesday gave seven days deadline to the agro farm owners to bring their lands in conformity with the laws.

The notice said if the violators did not abide by CDA's instructions within the given timeframe CDA would take appropriate action against them.

“We have served notices on violators of bylaws of agro farms and will cancel their leases if the owners fail to rectify the violations as per nonconforming laws,” member planning of the CDA, Syed Mustfain Kazmi, told Dawn.

Mr Kazmi said that the decision to cancel leases of agro farms owned by violators was taken in a meeting headed by the Capital Development Authority chairman, Syed Tahir Shahbaz.

It may be noted that in 2011 the Supreme Court had taken notice of these violations and directed the CDA to take appropriate action.

The laws of agro farmland dictate that such land may only be used to cultivate farms and vegetables or run poultry farms.

However, a significant part of the allotted land under agro farm schemes has been converted into residential land as owners have built palatial houses on them and developed personal farm houses.

CDA member planning, Mr Kazmi, said that the CDA chairman had directed the authorities concerned to issue final notices to the owners who violated CDA by-laws and cancel the allotments of those who did not comply with the terms and conditions.

“These agro farm houses had been allotted for the cultivation of fruits, vegetables or poultry farming, and after the expiry of the deadline, we will seal the farmhouses that are violating Capital Development Authority laws and demolish them,” stated Mr Kazmi.

He further explained that agro-farm owners are required by law to grow vegetables and fruits on 80 per cent of the total land. The remaining 20 per cent, he added, can be used for residential purposes.

Meanwhile, in its press release, CDA revealed that CDA had recovered Rs2 million in fines from agro farm owners in cases of non-development and Rs17 million from fine against illegal construction on agro farms.

A committee comprising Building Control, Enforcement Directorate and CDA Magistrate has also been constituted for carrying out operations against the violators of building by-laws.

It must be noted that some of the violators have agreed to the demolition of illegal structures on their farmlands.

The CDA Chairman also directed that the recommendation for 12,500 square feet of covered area on agro farm be reduced and that a recommendation for the construction of a cold storage facility be brought to the next CDA Board meeting for consideration.