Court says land compensation plan not good enough for litigants

ISLAMBABAD, Sept 13: The Islamabad High Court found a new plan submitted by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to compensate the litigant landowners of sectors H-16 and I-17 not comprehensive enough.

Resuming the hearing of the compensation case on Thursday, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the court observed that the proposal did not cover all the aspects for compensating the affected landowners and directed the CDA member finance to prepare a comprehensive compensation plan.

CDA member finance and legal advisor Mohammad Ramzan Chaudhry submitted a proposal for the affected landowners, according to which the authority would start the development of the sectors in different phases.

According to the plan, CDA instead of developing the sector in one go would divide the development in different phases.

During the phase wise development, the authority would offer plots to general public and the revenue which would be generated from the sale of plots would be given to the affected landowners.

The plan revealed that CDA has already allocated 800 kanals in sector H-16 for federal jail and had received Rs720 million from the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration.The plan said, “The affected of I-17 and H-16 sectors may be asked to handover the possession of land on sub-sector basis to CDA, so that it can be offered to general public for sale.

The revenue would be generated from the sectors and would be kept in “Escrow” accounts (dedicated accounts for the affected).”

“The owners of these sectors may be asked to allow CDA to carry out survey of built up property (BuP) so that the process of award be completed”, the plan added.

Justice Siddiqui on September 10, warned CDA officials of stern action, if they would fail to come up with a solid proposal for the compensation of villagers by September 13.

The court, however, advised the CDA member finance to improve the proposal and submit it to the court on next date of hearing on September 28.

Earlier, CDA on two different occasions submitted identical proposals before the court for compensating the villagers which was rejected by them.

The authority earlier offered the landowners a land sharing formula in which it offered a 1 kanal developed plot for 4 kanals raw land. It also offered them deferred payments in installments and finally CDA has expressed consent for de-notification of the sectors H-16 and I-17, and to de-acquire the land it acquired in 2009.

According to about 50 petitions filed for the land compensations by the villagers, CDA since 2009 has paid more than Rs3 billion to the property tycoon Malik Riaz and other influential people, who purchased the land from the local people against throw away prices, just before the announcement of the said sectors and sold it to the CDA at comparatively high rates.

The authority, however, did not pay even a single penny to the local residents even after 4 years of acquiring of their inherited land, the petitions added.

It is pertinent to mention that the court on July 27 ordered for the attachment of the salaries of CDA chairman and other senior officials.

A two members division bench, however, on August 3, while admitting the CDA appeal against the attachment, ordered for the release of salaries of CDA high ups.

The same court also issued show cause notice to CDA director road and maintenance, Anwer Gopang as he submitted misleading statements in the court.

While complying with the court order in which it sought details from CDA directorates regarding interference of Faisal Sakhi Butt, former chairman CDA task force in their affairs, Mr Gopang, in his earlier statement stated that Mr Butt never interfered in the affairs of his directorate.

The court on September 10, directed him to appear before the bench along with complete record including the details of the project for the extension of Aabpara parking.

Mr Gopang told the court that law directorate did not properly communicate its order to his directorate and, therefore, some wrong information was communicated to the court.

He admitted that Mr Butt interfered in the projects of Rs76.03 million for additional parking of Aabpara market and of Rs26.37 million for retaining wall for sector G-7.

He submitted unconditional apology and alleged CDA law directorate for miscommunication.

CDA legal advisor, Mohammad Ramzan Chaudhry, told the court that the law directorate had informed all the CDA directorates for submission of factual record to the court. He also produced the letter sent to the directorates in this regard.

The court examined the letter and then issued show cause notices to director Gopang and adjourned the hearing till September 17.