Double payment? CDA seeks amendment in land compensation law

Many families compensated earlier, but land never changed hands


Danish Hussain April 20, 2016
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:


The city managers are deliberating over introducing an amendment to the CDA Ordinance 1960 aimed at compensating heirs of the locals affected by land acquisition for the development of sectors.


However, the amendment will only benefit those whose ancestral lands were acquired by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) before 1985 but had failed to acquire possession despite the payment of compensation.

“The families compensated back then have extended over time, and over the years, they have built up additional structures which were not present when the CDA announced the land acquisition from the late 1960s to 1985,” said a senior CDA official privy to the development.

In some cases, the CDA only announced acknowledgment of entitlement to compensation, but did not make any payment at the time.

Locals who were compensated earlier have since refuse to turn over possession of their land to the CDA, demanding additional benefits for the structures they have built up on the same land since then.

Currently, the CDA ordinance strictly prohibits award of additional benefits to locals who have already been compensated for their land.

Proposed amendment

The proposed amendment calls for insertion of a new subsection — 33-C — titled “Payment of resettlement and rehabilitation solatium upon securing possession of acquired land.”

“The authority [CDA] may, through an agreement, pay a solatium, upon securing possession of land already acquired by the CDA prior to 1985, in an amount or in the manner deemed reasonable for resettlement and rehabilitation of a landless affectee or dweller, not being a person who has been or was entitled to be paid compensation at the time of acquisition of land by the authority,” the proposed text of Section 33-C reads.

The section defines “landless affectee or dweller” as a person who is the owner of built-up property in the form of a house constructed after the CDA acquired the land.

The affected persons can also be adult successors of individual whose land had been acquired, and whose primary place of residence or property or source of livelihood is adversely affected due to the acquisition of land by the authority.

CDA to bear financial loss

Provided the amendment gets through, the CDA will have to pay additional benefits to families already compensated.

“In the past, the CDA gave monetary benefits to locals against their land, but the CDA allowed them to continue their occupation on humanitarian grounds,” commented a senior official of the land and estate wing of the civic agency.

He said that the situation worsened over the period of time and when in the recent past the CDA tried to get possession of the land it was denied by the locals.

“Several attempts to forcibly get the land vacated by the CDA faced immense resistance,” he said, adding that the management now feels it cannot regain possession until it paid more ‘compensation’ to the extended families of the original affected persons.

When contacted, the CDA spokesperson said, the proposal was under consideration.

He refused to comment any further.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2016.

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