Kashif Abbasi Updated August 16, 2019
ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has finally decided to challenge controversial built-up property (BUP) claims in C-15 that were added to the sector’s award list after case reviews.
Sources said CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed directed for more than 200 BUP review cases in C-15 to be challenged a few days ago.
They will be heard by the Islamabad deputy commissioner.
Islamabad DC to hear more than 200 claims
Former director land Malik Touqueer Nawaz had objected to BUP review cases in C-15 in March, calling them non-maintainable under the law. His move raised the question of why the court of the CDA’s deputy commissioner passed themif that was the case.
Sources said the CDA chairman also rejected the review and decided to challenge the cases before the deputy commissioner.
CDA officials Dawn spoke to said a formal inquiry should be carried out to look into the entire issue, and the matter should also be investigated by the National Accountability Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency.
They said a scandal surfaced this February, when the director land issued show-cause notices to two officials accused of making statements in favour of a number of people to secure plots or other forms of compensation in C-15 through the court of the deputy commissioner.
They were accused of making favourable statement before then CDA deputy commissioner Qazi Sohaib for plots in the sector against built-up property.
The BUP award for the sector was announced in 2016 with a total of 504 people declared eligible for their claims. Of them, 167 were placed on list ‘A’, after they provided all the requisite information to be declared eligible, while 337 were placed on list ‘B’.
It was decided that the claimants in list ‘B’ would also be placed in list ‘A’ if they provide the requisite information.
The assistant director technical and assistant director land at the time submitted certificates that no house or structure was left un-measured at the site. But during the review cases, the deputy commissioner’s court added more than 200 cases – making them eligible for BUP claims in the form of plots or cash compensation.
The director land had issued an explanation letter to assistant director technical Tariq Javed and assistant director land Amir Hayat Olak. Speaking to Dawn at the time, both officials said they had done nothing wrong.
When contacted, CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said the management has ordered a filing of reviews in all such matters as policy.
He said all such cases, including in C-15, would be dealt with on the basis of merit.
He said the CDA also recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Suparco, the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, which would, among other matters, use satellite imagery for BUP reference estimates.
CDA officials said BUP cases remain a challenge for the authority because of their complexity.
“The biggest challenge for any development authority is BUP. The last BUP award was announced in 2017 for Chattha Bakhtawar, and a year earlier for C-15 in 2016,” a land directorate official said.
The official said the number of units in Chattha Bakhtawar was allegedly greater than the initial number of claims, while controversy also emerged in the C-15 cases. He added that the Kuri model village was another fiasco, as there were 600-plus BUP cases in the 80s, but the number was manipulated to 7,000 in 2007.
The official said it was later unofficially reduced to 3,000, but the variance between 600 and 3,000 means that the CDA pays for the loss.
He added that in order to make the process more transparent, the BUP award should be announced at the same time as the land award.
“Both awards should be announced together. Here at the CDA, the problem is that we announce the BUP award years after the land award, and this gap gives people the chance to manipulate the BUP award,” he said.
Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2019