The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is now known as a government failure to meet housing needs. CDA delivered the last successful project back in 1987 that was sector G-11. Consider another example of sector E-12. The project was announced in the 1970s to provide 5,000 housing units. The sale of plots was announced in 1984. Now after 30 years, an official revealed that the authority does not possess land in sector E-12. CDA has not compensated original land owners.
Several people who were allotted plots back in the 1990s are still waiting for the compensation. According to one of the affectees, he was assured by Supreme Court that the issue will be shortly resolved but there is no time line. CDA blames federal government for the failure of its project. According to a CDA official when the land acquisition for the capital city began in the 1960s, most of the land was vacant. It was easy to acquire piece of land as there was no hard and fast rule involved.
Locals were given agricultural land in Punjab and the rest were given cash under the “Land Acquisition Act 1984”. Under this law, government has to pay owners at the market rates. However, in 1996, the PPP government has introduced a new policy. According to this law, now the people are not just paid for the land but also for the built-up property on the land. Built-up properties are structures present on the land at the time the land is being acquired.
This is where greed comes in. Now, the moment CDA announced any new sector, people respond enthusiastically in order to win a plot in its developed sector. It hindered the CDA’s land acquisition process and became a financial burden on the authority. Islamabad is the only city where people are given alternative residential plots. However, 1984 Land Act does not allow plots for built up property.
According to an official, “Increase in land prices also encouraged land encroachment.” He further said that in 1996 the land prices for 138 sq yd plot was around Rs 250,000 while today it is over Rs 6-10 million in a developed sector.
CDA is not as much of a victim as its officials make it out to be. CDA officials, for the sake of personal gain or under political pressure, delay its own sectors so that private housing societies will continue to flourish. If CDA started its residential projects in the city, it would control the crime and land mafia. The authority’s performance and own record can also be judged from the number of investigations it faces in the courts and by investigating agencies.