Cash-strapped CDA wants private investors

ISLAMABAD, May 28: Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Tahir Shahbaz said residential projects could no longer be launched in the federal capital without a joint venture with private partners, and the CDA Ordinance had to be amended for that.

He said this while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat and the Capital Administration and Development (CAD) on Tuesday.

Discussing the affairs of the Multi-Professional Employees Cooperative Housing Society (MPECHS), he said during the tenure of former chairman Kamran Lashari, the civic body had invited private partners to develop the northern strip of Sector E-11.

MPECHS had been a successful bidder and had not only vacated the land from encroachers but had also developed it.

On April 15, 2011 the Supreme Court had struck down a joint venture to develop 54acres of land since there was no provision in the CDA Ordinance for such ventures.

“We have been facing financial problems in starting a new residential project, and because of the flaws in the ordinance we cannot vacate the land,” the chairman said.He said there were two types of awards which the CDA gave whenever it acquired a plot by vacating it; a land award and a build-up-property (BUP) award.

The land award was paid to compensate for the land (in the form of cash and a plot), while the BUP was paid to compensate for any building constructed on that land.

“Whenever the CDA makes a deal for the land award, people start constructing buildings, sometimes a single room, to get the BUP as well. This makes it impossible for the CDA to cater to all demands,” the chairman added.

However, representative of housing society Chaudhry Majeed said the CDA’s faulty rules were the reason why the civic body could not vacate land from the people.

“The CDA is the only authority in Pakistan which gives money as well as plots against the land and also pays for the buildings, while private companies make package deals with the land owners to get possession of the plot.

“Although CDA has acquired sector G-12, 40,000 houses were present there and now it is impossible for the CDA to provide 40,000 plots,” he said.

Mr Majeed claimed the civic body had to pay the dues of the housing society as per the Supreme Court orders, but the society had not received the dues worth Rs1.26 billion due to which it had to contact the court.

The general secretary of the ministry of interior cooperative housing society, Aftab Ahmed Shah, also criticised the CDA and said the authority had acquired 829 kanals in sector H-16 in 1997, but even after 15 years, compensation could not be paid.

“We are willing to receive money, plots or even apartments against the land because our members have been waiting for years.
We contacted the CDA several times but could not get a positive response,” he said.

Chairperson of standing committee Kalsoom Parveen said the CDA and the societies should adopt a transparent process of allotment and development so that institutions such as the Supreme Court did not interfere in their issues.

“There are number of housing societies which have been minting money from people, and those who had been allotted land could not get their plots for years. If the CDA and societies make things complicated, the courts would continue taking notices,” she said.

Ms Parveen instructed Chairman CDA Tahir Shahbaz to negotiate with both societies regarding the dues and submit a report within a fortnight.