Friday September 29, 2023

In contemptuous move, CDA blames IHC for Park Enclave scandal

January 14, 2019

ISLAMABAD: In an unbelievable and contemptuous act, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has shifted the blame of its failure to deliver plots to allottees in Park Enclave on the honourable Islamabad High Court (IHC).

In order to avoid the implementation of the Federal Ombudsman's order, which had sought immediate handing over of possession of plots to Park Enclave affectees, the CDA formally wrote back to the Ombudsman conveying that the IHC's stay order is the hurdle in the completion of the project and removal of encroachments.

A letter written by Fareeduddin, Director Land and E/A of the CDA, to Muhammad Ashraf Ashfaq, DG Implementation of Wafaqi Mohtasib, Islamabad No.CDA/ADLR/WMS-H/4613/18/2019/43 and dated January 3, 2019 reads as; “Instant case is regarding delay in development of Park Enclave, Islamabad due to stay order granted by the Honourable Islamabad High Court against a writ petition filed by Mst. Hamerda Bano and Falak Naz etc. for considering them as awardee/affectee to avail rehabilitation benefits in Model Village Kuri and Rehara. The land falling in 61 plots including the instant one is encroached by the affectees of villages Majuhan and Dakhli Kuri. The development of the sector will start, as and when the stay order is vacated by the Islamabad High Court and removal of encroachers from the subject piece of land by giving them rehabilitation benefits as per rehabilitation policy.”

The Federal Ombudsman after hearing the case had ordered the Authority not only to initiate action against those officials involved in cheating public at large but also handover the plots to all the affectees after acquiring the said land.

Launched by the CDA with the attractive slogan “The Jewel of Islamabad” during the last PPP government in 2011 and then extended in 2014 and 2015 during the PML-N regime, the Park Enclave has been used by government to pocket billions of rupees, but failed to keep its promise of giving possession of plots within stipulated time period.

Phase-I of the project launched in 2011 was to be developed and delivered to those who had purchased the plots in very high commercial rates, in January 2013. In 2011, the one kanal plot was sold for Rs12 million while in the second phase, four years later, the price of the same size plot was Rs22 million. After the lapse of eight years, more than 60 owners of plots in Park Enclave-I are still waiting for the possession.

Officials in the CDA confirmed that the Authority had defrauded the people by making false promise of developing the sector and handing over the possession in a stipulated time period, while concealing the fact that the Authority itself had not the complete possession of the land at the time of project’s launch.

Neither anyone has been held accountable for cheating the public nor any serious effort has been made to get the land retrieved from adverse possession to complete the project and handover plots to those who after being looted at the hands of influential private housing societies owners had done the mistake of posing their confidence in a government authority. The affectees are now questioning as to how one can trust the government with such failures and deceits on part of government departments.

Interestingly, on August 29, 2018, Federal Ombudsman Syed Tahir Shahbaz after hearing the complaints of Park Enclave affectees had directed the chairman CDA to take disciplinary action against the officials for delay in the acquisition of land for this project. The Federal Ombudsman had also directed the CDA to complete the land acquisition process and start development work of Park Enclave within a month so the allottees waiting for the possession of plots since last seven years should be handed over their plots. This order of the Ombudsman, however, fell on deaf ears of the Authority.

The PTI government has announced to launch Naya Pakistan Housing Project on government lands with public private partnership for the low-income citizens. However, the repute of the government departments in past remained extremely poor as even the development authority of the federal capital failed to deliver in its last three housing projects despite taking huge sums of money from citizens. This has obviously shaken the confidence of ordinary citizens even in the government departments.

Senior officials of the CDA are reluctant to talk to the media on Park Enclave’s scam. According to an official source, the present management neither takes the responsibility as the project was launched much before them nor feel pressed to complete it because of government’s indifference.

In a previous response to The News on the subject, the CDA had admitted in writing that the Authority had announced and launched the mega housing project with the name of Park Enclave in the federal capital (now known as Park Enclave, Phase-I) without having physical possession of land. It was added that despite its failure to complete Park Enclave’s Phase-I, the CDA announced extensions of this housing project in 2014 and 2015 that too without having the possession of land for the housing scheme.

In its written response in 2017, the CDA had admitted that it couldn’t acquire complete land even for Phase-I of the Park Enclave project after the lapse of seven long years.

The CDA had even admitted that no action whatsoever was initiated against those who were involved in fraud of launching the scheme with possession of land or for their continued failure to deliver the project.

According to CDA sources, the Authority has now linked the fate of Park Enclave with the future of Kuri Model Village. There were no such conditions attached while launching the Park Enclave or extending it but now the Authority is using the excuse of first clearing Kuri Model Village land from adverse possession to get the Park Enclave land cleared from those who are sitting there.

The CDA claimed that until 2017 (six years after launching) it managed to get possession of 92 percent of land for phase-I.