Seven years after the devastating 2005 earthquake, the fate of the Margalla Towers still hangs in the balance, as was evident during an auction held on Wednesday.
The bidding process was boycotted, when the potential buyers said that the reserved price benchmark of the plots fixed by the CDA was too high.
Two block of Margalla Towers were the only buildings in the federal capital that collapsed during the destructive 2005 earthquake, claiming the lives of 74 residents.
Following the judgment of the Supreme Court, the CDA paid Rs1.75 billion as compensation to the owners of 75 residential apartments in the building. Earlier, during an auction, a bidder offered Rs1.35 billion against the plot but was rejected by the CDA Board on the grounds that the amount was lesser than the compensation paid to victims.
After the earthquake, the area residents demanded speedy removal of the remaining structure. When the demands began to rise exponentially, the CDA decided to demolish the remaining structure in 2008 and sought bids from interested firms.
For the past few years, the structure has served as a hideout for anti-social elements, posing a threat to residents.
Meanwhile, the CDA approved a bid for a plot measuring 1.59 acres in the Diplomatic Enclave, sources privy to the development said.
“The board headed by CDA Chairman Engineer Farkhand Iqbal in a one-point agenda meeting approved the bid of one out of four plots,” the source said, adding that the decision of the remaining plots is still pending. The winning bid was awarded to the Karakoram Heights apartment complex.
Though 23 firms submitted their interest to the CDA to purchase the plots, the CDA rejected the documents of five firms and only pre-qualified firms were allowed to take part in the auction.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2012.