The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has planned to launch a high-end housing society in Zone IV, Islamabad. In this vein, the civic authority has decided to acquire land belonging to the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), which has become a bone of contention between CDA and NARC.
The issue awaits resolution, as Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif has the ball in his court right now and he has yet to decide in either’s favour. Both parties directly involved are trying their best to safeguard their respective interests, with neither NARC nor the CDA backing off.
NARC and its supporting organisations are determined to save the research centre and continue the R&D contribution towards agricultural growth.
“It is a national institution which was established 40 years ago. More than PKR 108 billion have been spent so far to make it an organisation worthy of what it is today. It houses 100 different labs for research purposes,” NARC Director General (DG) Abdul Azeem Khan told Zameen.com.
The land in question was allotted to NARC on lease which, according to the CDA, expired in 2005. The authority has asserted that the lease was not renewed because houses were built on NARC’s land to accommodate staff members, in a clear violation of the lease agreement.
“Almost 35 houses for officers and 60 houses for support staff have been built on the land. The houses were built according to the master plan and PC-1, and CDA’s officials were involved in the development and implementation of the plan. An organisation of such a large scale cannot work efficiently without providing residential facilities to its employees who have to work even on weekends,” stated DG Khan. “The CDA plans to demolish 1,300 acres of NARC’s land right away and has given no relocation plan.”
Revenue over research?
The CDA, on the other hand, plans to generate revenue by demolishing the research centre. According to an estimate, the authority will earn PKR 100 billion by selling 6,000 residential plots and PKR 30 billion to PKR 50 billion by auctioning off commercial plots in the proposed housing society.
The project will be handed over to a private developer for execution, according to CDA’s proposed plan. The developer will be responsible for designing, developing and marketing the project, and will be given plots instead of cash. The CDA believes that this housing society will be even more lucrative than its very own Park Enclave located in the same vicinity.
The final decision, however, lies with the PM.
“Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has a history of building up national institutions and we expect the government will maintain this culture. We demand the PM to take credit for saving the national institution by permanent allotment of land to NARC,” requested the DG through Zameen.com.
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