Sunday, February 24, 2013

State Aristocracy’s Pakistan – 19: CDA ignores owners, awards plots to civil and military bureaucrats

ISLAMABAD: In yet another example of might is right, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has secretly awarded plots to top civil and military bureaucrats in recently acquired sectors while thousands of poor affectees (affected!) are running from pillar to post to get compensation for their land taken by the authority about four years ago.

According to documents, the authority announced a compensation award for the affectees (affected!) of sectors C-13, C-14, C-15 and C-16 on Dec 2, 2008 promising to compensate them within six months under land sharing policy. 

However, the poor affectees (affected!) with no political connections have yet to receive compensation for the land, they owned for hundreds of years. Similarly, the affectees (affected!) of Sector D-13 are also waiting for compensation for last many years. 

However, documents revealed that a former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and two former members of CDA Board immediately got plots in the said sector as compensation for the land which they bought from locals just ahead of CDA’s acquisition. Such is the state of affairs in the authority that some favourites were even allotted plots without numbers in yet to be developed sectors. 

When contacted, the authority admitted that some powerful people had been given priority in the process of compensation while claiming that the genuine affectees (affected!) will also be compensated soon. 

The authority acquired 14,944 kanals of land in revenue estates Sarai Kharbooza, Sangjani, Sarai Madhu and Shah Allah Ditta for construction of C series of sectors in 2008. Later, same year, the authority announced an award of compulsory land acquisition of compensation to be paid to the land owners. 

The authority’s deputy commissioner announced monetary compensation for the land owners in lieu of compulsory land acquisition while those who own more than four kanals would be entitled to get a developed plot of one kanal against every four kanals of land acquired from them. It was announced that the plots will be allotted to land owners within six months from the date of the award. 

However, the affectees (affected!) have not received a single penny yet despite repeated complaints to CDA officials. “The Capital Development Authority is violating our fundamental rights granted in the constitution by not paying compensation for our ancestral land,” said Syed Tanveer Shah, one of the affectees (affected!) who owned 1,477 kanals of land in Sangjani. 

“We are deprived of the income from our agriculture land for last four years and now the outsiders are building property on our land in connivance with CDA officials,”he said. Tanveer was of the view that it is the responsibility of the authority to obtain possession of the land after the acquisition. 

When contacted, the CDA’s current Member Estate Shaista Sohail said she was unaware of any irregularities in the process of allotments in sector C-16 and D-13 as she had recently joined the authority as member board. 

While admitting that some influential persons had already been compensated for their land in D-13, she urged the other D-13 affectees (affected!) to contact the authority for compensation. She was of the view that the authority is in the process of developing road infrastructure for Sector C-13 to C-16 and once the process is completed the affectees (affected!) will start receiving compensation as per land sharing policy.

[The News, February 23, 2013]

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