CDA cancelled leases of nine plots, IHC told

Published: December 30, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) had cancelled the leases of nine plots marked for commercial, hotel or multiuse buildings in the past two years due to non-payment of their dues and building code violations.

This was stated by the civic body in a report submitted to the Islamabad High Court on Thursday during a hearing of the One Constitution Avenue Complex case. The report had been submitted in compliance with an order passed by IHC Justice Athar Minallah about the enforcement of applicable rules for commercial buildings in the capital.

The report states that out of 23 prominent commercial plots and buildings, the CDA had cancelled the lease of nine in 2016 for “building violations as per available record” and non-payment of outstanding dues.

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Around 13 hotels, malls, organisations, government departments having buildings on such commercial plots – namely Centaurus Mall, Marriott Hotel, Serena Hotel, CCC Associate, Silver Oaks, State Life, NIC Headquarter, Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan International Airlines, Islamabad Stock Exchange, PTET Tower, Saudi Pak Tower and the National Logistic Cell – have paid the principal amount. Only Safa Gold Mall is under litigation.

The civic agency had sealed the multi-storey shopping centre in Sector F-7 Markaz for failing to clear its dues. However, the mall was later reopened after its management assured that all outstanding dues would be cleared.

On December 28, Justice Minallah had directed the CDA to submit report while hearing petitions of the owners of the One Constitution Avenue complex and others who had challenged CDA’s decision of terminating the lease of a building meant for the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Justice Minallah had further asked CDA’s counsel, Kashif Ali Malik if the civic body had enforced its rules during the construction of other buildings in the capital and why the petitioners were accused of violating rules.

CDA cancelled leases of nine plots, IHC told

The court had also remarked that the CDA had failed to raise objections when the building was being constructed and that its lease was only cancelled when a third party intervened.

The counsel replied that the construction company was allowed numerous undue favours and unprecedented relaxation of rules.

In the report submitted on Thursday, the CDA stated that construction on the main component of the hotel tower has not yet commenced. It added that approval for the plans had expired in 2013 and revised plans were not submitted as per the approved format of authority. Despite that, serviced apartments were sold out to general public.

It added that the approved plans had listed only 120 serviced apartments, however, 240 had been constructed with sound, stability and numerous certificates from architects and engineers still required.

Moreover, the group has not submitted completion plan.

On the other hand, Centaurus Mall had been accused of moving in without taking due permissions. Moreover, its basement did not conform to rules.

Centaurus, however, had submitted partial completion plan in November, which is being processed.

On August 1, CDA informed the IHC that it had terminated the 99-year lease contract with BNP due to violations of CDA bylaws and rescheduling of outstanding dues.

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The CDA’s decision of terminating the contract for the land lease and sealing of the building was challenged before the court on August 10. The CEO of BNP and others have requested the court to restrain the civic body from taking any adverse action till the case is pending before the court.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2016.

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