Oops go the baboos: CDA allocates land for varsity, forgets to acquire it

Location of King Hamad University changed at eleventh hour

Shahzad Anwar January 04, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Someone in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has left the civic agency with egg on its face after it failed to provide possession of land marked for a major medical varsity. The site was then changed at the eleventh hour.

The CDA had identified 237 kanals for the construction of King Hamad University of Nursing and Allied Medical Science in Chatta Bakhtawar and Mouja village across Park Road and had issued an allotment letter to the financiers – the Government of Bahrain – in 2015.

“The CDA acquired this land back in 1981, but on the ground, the authority has been unable to obtain possession,” A CDA official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.

He said the authority had made payments for the land to locals but did not obtain possession because it did not pay compensation for built-up property in the area.

“We were told by the land department that the area had been acquired and cleared, but when we visited the site, there were more than 100 built up properties on the proposed site and it was not easy to get physical control of the land in a short period of time,” a CDA Planning Directorate official said.

The Express Tribune made several attempts to approach CDA Chairman Sheikh Anser Aziz for comment, but he did not respond.

The decision to set up a state-of-the-art university was the outcome of meetings between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa.

Sources said that Sharif was supposed to inaugurate the university on January 6, and the CDA’s refusal at the last moment may be construed as an embarrassment for the government.

“The project is considered as a great model and a tangible symbol of the strong bonds of friendship between Pakistan and Bahrain and is a gift from the kingdom,” said a Health official.

“This is an embarrassment at government level, as land was allocated and was also accepted  by the Bahrain government and an agreement was also signed between the two governments, whereas allotment letter was issued by CDA, and at last moment CDA expressed its helplessness regarding provision of agreed land,” a source privy to the matter told The Express Tribune.

According to a CDA Planning official, the directorate communicated the on-the-ground position to the CDA chairman a few days before the inauguration, which Aziz conveyed to the PM’s office.

To avoid further embarrassment at government level, the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulation then proposed to give a roughly equivalent amount of land near the National Institute of Health (NIH), which will be the new location.

Ministry of Health sources said King Hamad University would be affiliated with the Royal College of Nursing, Ireland and would produce 2,000 qualified graduates that would greatly assist Pakistan’s healthcare and medical needs.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2017.


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