The Agro Farms Islamabad, a project that was meant to ensure the ample supply of vegetables, fruits and poultry to the capital, has reportedly been misused. The farms vary in sizes and are located in the outskirts of the city. Capital Development Authority has shown serious concerns over the misuse and has expressed commitment to take action against the farms which have been used for purposes other than vegetation and poultry.
Most of the farmhouses around Islamabad have been leased by notable people who enjoy strong connections with the parliamentarians and thus make it difficult for the CDA to act aggressively. These farmhouses are among the most expensive properties in Islamabad as, according to Zameen.com, the average asking price of a 20 kanal farmhouse in the capital is approximately Rs. 70 million. The misuse of such expensive property has invited serious criticism.
Out of the 600 plus farmhouses located around the capital, 500 of them have been turned into mansions, residential units, restaurants, party houses and wedding halls. While according to the CDA’s bylaws, 80% of the land leased for farmhouses has to be used strictly for vegetation and poultry with not more than 20% of covered area. In case of violation, CDA reserves the right to cancel the contract and take possession of the property.
The farmhouses that have breached CDA’s laws have been issued notices to demolish the nonconforming facilities and terminate all business activities other than farming and poultry. CDA has been taking cautions steps in this regard and has closed a number of farmhouses since issuing notices.
Since the owners of these farmhouses are journalists, military figures, lawyers, businessmen and current and ex parliamentarians, CDA faces strong resistance in taking actions against them. Nonetheless, with slow and conscious moves, the authority has started to take actions against the misuse of such expensive property in the capital.