ISLAMABAD - The National Highway Authority is preparing to cancel the lease agreement of fifty shops constructed in an underpass located at Gojar Khan over violation of terms and conditions of the lease agreement.

The authority has received a visible increase in the revenue collection by prudently using the right of way (ROW) of the national highways in last two years.

The routine revenue collection from ROW was ranging between Rs300 to Rs400 million annually from last many years, however, the same has been increased manifold in last year and it was around $2.15 billion in the financial year 2017-18.

When contacted, the incumbent General Manager ROW Mohammad Asif Hargan, a Pakistan Customs officer who joined NHA on deputation in March 2017 confirmed that a file for the cancellation of aforementioned lease agreement has been forwarded for the approval of the competent authority.

“The Director ROW Ansir Anise in her visit on site has pointed out gross violations committed by the lessee Raja Bashrat”, Hargan said, explaining: “The lessee is paying Rs50,000 per month as rent for these fifty shops to NHA while he is minting millions of rupees by subletting further the same to other people.”  He informed further that the said lease was granted some fifteen years ago.   

Sources informed that the people running their businesses alongside the national highways were earlier using NHA’s land for the access without obtaining any formal approval and resultantly, the authority was losing millions of rupees annually.

However, the incumbent General Manager ROW soon after assuming his charge had travelled across the country and pointed out hundreds of locations, which were being used illegally by private persons without any authorisation.

He activated 32 Deputy Directors Maintenance deputed on NHA’s road network across the country and prepare a plan to regularise these illegal access being used by the business community without paying any fee to the authority. NHA served notices to these people across the country.

Resultantly, the same business operators contacted NHA for grant of No Objection Certificates (NOC) to use the direct access from the ROW and the number of NOCs granted were increased from 800 to 3000 in last year, which ultimately increased the revenue under this head tremendously. 

On the other side, the NHA had also cancelled around 117 leases out of total 216 in the ROW in last four years mainly on the non-payment of dues or upon using the land other than the purpose specified in the agreement.  Besides moving for the cancellation of the lease of said fifty shops in Gujar Khan, the ROW directorate is also preparing to cancel a lease in Wazirabad on the account of default.