Islamabad - The much-delayed housing scheme at Bhara Kahu for the federal government employees will remain in doldrums again as the federal interior minister yesterday ordered to cancel the land acquired by the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) for this purpose.

Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan has ordered to cancel the land acquired by the FGEHF under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act and has asked special secretary interior to conduct an inquiry into the matter, said the spokesman of interior ministry.

The minister even ignored the resolution recently passed by the National Assembly that has said that proposed housing society for the federal government employees at Bhara Kahu should be completed as early as possible.

However, the bad governance of the PML-N government is clearly visible from the fact that the interior ministry instead of sorting out the issue with the ministry of housing and works has itself issued orders to cancel the land acquired for the establishment of a housing scheme that has been pending since 2009. The Housing Foundation is a subsidiary of the ministry of housing and works.

Under the federal government rules, every employee of the federal government is titled to get a plot in the Islamabad capital territory (ICT) having a size according to his/her basic pay scale.

“The federal government has banned to acquire the land under the government laws for establishment of housing societies in ICT,” the ministry said. The strong-worded statement of the ministry giving the reason of the cancellation of the land acquired at Bhara Kahu said that the land should be bought at market rates from rural inhabitants of the ICT.

“I support every initiative/scheme to give plots to the poor federal government employees but the land owners should be given market rates,” the interior minister said. He even went on to dub the FGEHF as the land grabbers and said that the land grabbers, whether private or government, would not be allowed to deprive the poor of their land during my stint as interior minister. “It could not be allowed that the government laws are misused to befit a specific community,” he said adding that the local administration of Islamabad should not become part of any such process.

The official website of the FGEHF says that “the foundation is planning to launch Green Enclave-I Housing Scheme at Bhara Kahu, Islamabad, on Murree Expressway on 3,100 kanals of land for the federal government employees who have registered themselves under the Housing Foundation’s membership drive.”

“Housing Foundation is also acquiring about 12,000 kanals more land with adjacent to our site at Bhara Kahu to accommodate our esteemed registered members under membership registration drive,” the website further says adding that efforts are being made to finalise the modalities of land acquisition and subsequent development of sector with CDA.

“We have already invited private land owners to come and have a joint venture with us,” an official of the FGEHF said on condition of anonymity and added: “We will enter into joint venture with the private landowners after the settlement of land price with them,” he added.

The FGEHF had launched the scheme at Bhara Kahu in 2009 for the federal government employees and other occupation groups having specified quotas on ‘first come first serve basis.’ In the first phase it had created around 3,300 plots after purchasing land from a privet company. Now the total membership for the scheme had touched the figure of 36,000.

Now the Foundation plans to accommodate all members by purchasing more land in adjacent area of the scheme.

The scheme has been in limbo since 2009 because of some alleged irregularities in the purchase of land by the Foundation. It was alleged in the past that the Foundation purchased land at much higher rates than the actual price of the land through a middleman.