ISLAMABAD -  Judges, lawyers, court officials and bureaucrats would have to pay more to get a plot in Park Road Housing Scheme as local government has hiked the land acquisition prices by increasing the total cost of scheme from Rs18 billion to Rs29 billion.

The increase has been made in three categories. The price of one kanal land at prime location of Moaza Tamaa has been revised from Rs3.6 million to whooping Rs34.5 million. The price of one kanal land, falling under category 2, has been increased to Rs11.5 million. In Moaza Mohrian, per kanal land price has been increased from Rs1.5 million to Rs2.3 million.

The decision of revision has been approved by the revenue board, which on the advice of land acquisition collector made the decision. The housing scheme has been controversial since the lawyers failed to acquire the land for their housing society and somehow Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) took it under its ambit. On the pressure of powerful allotees, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) was told to acquire the land for the said scheme. According to officials, as per rule 80 percent of land has to be purchased by the developer himself but the society failed to purchase land and on the protest of legal fraternity Islamabad administration twisted the rules.

Further abusing the powers, the Chief Commissioner office imposed emergency acquisition to provide houses to jurists and other top brass. But the whole exercise was carried merely to avoid the wrath of powerful legal fraternity, which later proved to be less powerful than land mafia, officials claimed. In connivance with the powerful land mafia, the Islamabad administration backed locals to not sell their land and stage protests. It is a standard practice, when any new scheme is conceived; the top officers of Chief Commissioner House, revenue department and administration buy plots at throw away prices. The announcement of scheme is put on hold until all buy the plots. When announced, the officers sell plots pocketing huge profits, official claimed.

Giving example of how local government protect intersperse of land mafia, he said Park Avenue Housing Scheme was systematically delayed just to give time to a well known housing society developer to sell their plots.

In May, 2015, FGEHF announced to acquire 8,500 kanal land in Moza Tama and Mohriyan on Park Road Islamabad for federal government employees and members of Supreme Court Bar Association. In 2016, a petition was filed in Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the notifications to acquire land in a prohibited zone of Islamabad for the private housing society of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). The petition challenging the notifications issued by the capital administration on October 10, 2016, and April 29, 2015, contended that the agricultural land falling in Zone 4 of Islamabad cannot be acquired for the development of a housing society.

As per the notifications, 8,194 kanals and 15 marlas were set to be acquired from both the areas for the development of the housing society for the federal government employees and the members of the SCBA. Insiders alleged that not only Park Road, but every new housing facility is deliberately delayed to protect some.

It is a nexus of CDA, FGEHF and Islamabad administration; they deliberately not open new sectors, just to protect the interest of private housing societies. If government provide housing why anyone will buy plot in private society, official said.

The Islamabad chief commissioner did not responded to phone calls and text messages; however, a junior officer called and said the chief commissioner is very busy to meet any reporter. He denied the allegations, but requested not to mention his name. "There was no connivance and the prices of land were revised after adopting a thorough procedure. Around 350 people registered their objections and on the basis of those objections the price of land was revised", he said.

He said emergency was imposed on the orders of Supreme Court and whatever they were doing was on the direct orders of Supreme Court. When asked if administration is doing everything as per Supreme Court directions, why the scheme is still pending, he blamed procedures for delay.

 

 

ATIF KHAN