The chief of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has, in principle, approved the recommendations to retrieve a prized commercial plot encroached currently in use of a five-star hotel but it looks like the civic agency won’t be able to retrieve the plot in time to put it up for sale.
The course of action, which is yet to be adopted, was suggested by the CDA’s Planning and Design Wing head, following the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) directions.
“I’ve approved the recommendations suggested by the Planning Wing and directed the officials to retrieve the plot and auction it,” said CDA Chairman Tahir Shahbaz.
At the same time, he gave the civic agency leeway to postpone action, adding that the plot, which is reserved for the construction of a five-star hotel, will only be put up for auction in two weeks after a decision by the CDA board this week.
“CDA’s auction committee has identified some residential and commercial plots including this plot which measures around three acres and is situated south of the five-star hotel.
According to documents available with The Express Tribune, the Planning Wing has suggested that all licences issued to the five-star hotel for using the commercial plot in F-5/1 be cancelled, the Enforcement Directorate be asked to remove the encroachments and an inquiry officer be appointed to determine how licences were illegally issued to the hotel management.
The five-star hotel in question has developed a parking lot in the right of way of 6th Avenue over an area measuring 10,289.44 square yards, which is in excess of the commercial plot it has occupied. The hotel management has built a rear gate and a paved path on the plot in violation of building by-laws. DMA extended the licence last year which is valid till September, despite orders to the contrary.
According to the capital’s master plan, the Planning Wing allots land for temporary or permanent use, said an official of the wing, requesting not to be named. “DMA can only issues licences after approval from the Planning Wing to collect rent.”
“The open area licence for the plot is a clear violation of CDA’s Land Disposal Regulation 2005. The plot has not been auctioned because of the encroachment, causing financial loss to the civic agency,” the official added. The plot’s value estimated by the Planning Wing of the authority is around Rs4.6 billion.
Last year, PAC had directed CDA to hold an inquiry into the encroachment, which also attracted an audit objection. The issue has been in the spotlight ever since, but no action has been taken yet to seize the plot.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2013.