CDA officials grilled over Kurri compensations

Committee terms authority ‘weak, corrupt and irresponsible’.

Our Correspondent July 10, 2013
The committee also ordered CDA officials to produce details of all plots auctioned by the authority during the past five years. PHOTO: FILE.

ISLAMABAD: Poor land management by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) landed it the hot seat on Wednesday, as Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet and Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) slammed the civic agency for its incompetence in dealing with Kurri Model Village-affected landowners.

Landowners whose property was taken by the CDA in 2008 to develop the model village were promised money and compensation plots in return for their land. Almost five years on, they have still not been allotted compensation plots.

The CDA initially acquired land in Kurri in the 1960s but did not take possession until 2008.

The half-century gap meant that many of the original plots of affected persons have changed hands due to death or other reasons, complicating the compensation process.

Committee chairperson Senator Kalsoom Perveen said people affected by the model village are trying to get plots allotted to them for the past 40 years. She also cited a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) inquiry which had found that the CDA allotted hundreds of plots under the compensation award to undeserving people, while the rightful landowners still awaiting their share.

The senators said organisational weakness, irresponsibility of the employees and rising corruption has made CDA an ineffective agency. They proposed strict measures to put things back in order.

CDA Estate Member Shaista Sohail and Planning Member Mustafain Kazmi told the committee that the affected persons will be allotted plots from July 31.

Perveen also observed the absence of Cabinet Secretary Muhammad Sami Saeed and CDA Chairman Nadeem Hassan Asif, saying “The bureaucracy should correct its ways and respect parliament”.

Responding to a committee member’s query, CDA officials said the allotment of letters to people affected by Sector E-11’s development will start in a week and tenders for road construction in the sector have also been issued. CDA officials also hinted at renewed efforts to evict illegal settlers from the slum dwellings in Sector I-11 next month.

The committee also ordered CDA officials to produce details of all plots auctioned by the authority during the past five years, including information of plot owners, pending dues and the revenue generated from the auctions, at the next meeting.

Senator Sughra Imam urged the CDA to make its auction and allotment procedure for residential and commercial plots as transparent as possible. She said linkages between an alleged “auction cartel” and the CDA’s auction committee should be broken, otherwise the authority will continue to serve commercial interests.

Members said small provinces should be given due representation in the CDA and permanent law officers must be hired to get rid of the 5,000 pending court cases of the authority. The committee also raised concern over delays in the development of Sector I-16 and the Shah Allah Ditta water supply scheme.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2013.

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