Islamabad - In a very disgusting and unfair manner, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Monday conducted a manual balloting, despite its tall claims of computerised balloting, for allotment of some 154 costly residential plots of worth Rs 3.53 billion to general public at Park Enclave.

It looks as the CDA lives back in the last century that is not able to conduct computerised balloting though it has a full-fledged IT department. The city managers still believe transparency and fairness in balloting can only be achieved through manual processing.

The CDA had earlier claimed that balloting would be carried out using the latest software designed in collaboration with Pakistan Computer Bureau and Directorate of IT. Interestingly, DG (IT) CDA was part of the balloting committee to ensure ‘transparency’ that was done manually. The seriousness of chairman CDA could be gauged from the fact that at a time when worthy project of CDA was passing through its important phase; he could get some minute to oversee the balloting process.

The CDA had also mentioned this in broachers for Park Enclave plots under headline “Mode of Balloting” and it was widely propagated in a media campaign. Nearly 1506 applicants have submitted application forms for 154 residential plots at the scheme.

The attendance of applicants remained low, as there were 150 individuals at the venue of the balloting, Jinnah Convention Centre, because the CDA did not inform the public about date of balloting through special advertisements or through cell phone.

Two boxes were placed before the committee, formed to oversee the process of “fair balloting”. One box was filled with slips carrying names of applicants while plots numbers printed on slips were in the other box.

Audiences were asked to come on stage turn by turn and pick slips from each box. In this simple and decades old technique of balloting, the CDA chose 154 successful individuals out of 1506 applicants. Many of those present on the occasion raised concerns over mode of balloting. The balloting process was supervised by a committee headed by Member Finance CDA, Arbab Sher Bahadar.

A CDA press statement says that representatives of NAB, FIA, and Amnesty International were also present on the occasion; however, it did not give names of the officials. Later, the CDA uploaded the names of successful winner on its official website. According to the claim of Arbab Sher Bahadur, though balloting was done manually yet no question on its transparency arose during proceedings.

He said the CDA’s IT department had sent its software for balloting to National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for its verification. “NADRA pointed out some technical errors with the CDA’s software. It was impossible to remove the errors within the given timeframe announced by the authority for balloting,” Bahadur said. He said given the situation it was decided by the high-ups to conduct the balloting manually to ensure maximum transparency.

The CDA sought applications for project in December 2014. Some 1979 broachers were sold while 1506 submitted applications in the CDA with 10 per cent down payment of the plot. 173 applications were received against 48 plots measuring 1000 yards while 1333 applications were received for 106 plots measuring 500 yards.

The balloting process started after a brief delay of two-and-a-half-hour as some of the individuals who were given plots at the scheme in 2011 but they later refunded their submitted amounts from the CDA, moved the court against balloting.

The litigants were of the view that CDA should at first accommodate them against newly announced plots. But the CDA managed vacation of stay orders from respective courts and carried out balloting.