Islamabad - The Capital Development Authority (CDA) faced a loss of over Rs 10 billion due to non-removal of encroachments, nonconforming use of residential units and non-recovery of fines, an audit has pointed out.

The audit for the financial year 2014-15 noted that CDA land measuring 3,000 kanals situated at the Margalla foothills in Sri Saral village in the National Park area Islamabad has been encroached upon by different encroachers since long.

The audit observed that director environment (regional) CDA failed to get the encroached CDA land vacated from the adverse possession. This resulted into non-removal of encroachment of CDA land valuing Rs 9000.00 million at the rate of Rs 3.00 million per kanal (approximately). Audit also pointed out the non-retrieval of land in October 2014. The authority did not respond to the observation. Audit maintained that irregularly occurred due to lack of oversight mechanism for implementation of internal controls.

The documents available with The Nation disclosed that the section 5 (2) of federal government Land and Building (Recovery and Possession) Ordinance, 1965 provides if any person refuses or fails to vacate any land or building, any officer authorised in this behalf by the federal government may, notwithstanding anything contained any other law for the time being in force, enter upon such land and recover possession of the same by evicting such person and may also demolish and remove the structure, if any, erected or built by that person.

Moreover, for the purpose of recovering possession of any land under the provision, an officer authorised by the federal government in this behalf may use or cause to be used such force as may be necessary as provided in Para 6.

The documents further say that according to section 2.17 of Zoning (Building Control) Regulations, 2005 (ban on nonconforming uses, no land or building shall be put to a nonconforming use.

A nonconforming use of a residential building may render the owner and occupant of the building liable on first conviction to pay a fine of Rs 0.50 million and in case of failure to discontinue the nonconforming use within fifteen days of conviction, an additional fine of Rs 5000 per day up to three months will be received. Later, if the nonconforming use of the residential building continues, the owner or the occupant, as the case may be, shall be liable to be evicted from the building and the allotment deed of the plot be cancelled. The deputy commissioner CDA is vested with power under section 49-c of CDA ordinance, 1960 to impose fine up to Rs0.50 million plus Rs 5000 per day for maximum of three months.

The audit noted that Building Control Directorate CDA identified 2,191 cases of nonconforming use of residential buildings including 188 guests houses, 161 hostels, 45 showrooms, 102 clinics/hospitals, 404 schools/academies/ tuition centres, 824 offices, 106 gyms/beauty parlours, 35 general and miscellaneous business points, 332 shops/restaurants/hotels and certain diplomatic offices in the residential building of F, G, I sectors and model villages.

The audit observed that 1,165 cases were referred to the deputy commissioner CDA for panel action and for imposition of fine of Rs 0.50 million per building and further Rs 5000 per day for three months but only 284 cases were decided and fine was imposed.

There are 138 cases pending due to stay orders by various courts of law. Out of 2,191 cases majority of the cases (1,013 cases) pertained to F sector series, which is considered as a posh area of Islamabad. This resulted in loss of Rs 1106.75 million to the CDA.

The audit maintained that the irregularity occurred due to the weak internal controls and inadequate oversight mechanism for enforcing relevant rules and regulations. The departmental audit committee (DAC) meetings were convened on 15th to 20th January, 2015 but the audit paras were not discussed.

The audit pointed out the nonconforming use in October 2014. The Authority replied that deputy commissioner CDA has the authority to impose fines after trial. The order of fine is circulated to directors CDA, and senior special magistrate/ additional collector (recovery) CDA for further action.

The Building Control Directorates has no jurisdiction over the cases of nonconforming use once they are referred to the court of deputy commissioner CDA. The reply was not accepted. The audit stressed upon taking appropriate action against the responsible persons.