ISLAMABAD-The Capital Development Authority has started a process to allocate plots to private schools on ‘rental bases’ in violation of an already approved criteria, which was also submitted to the Islamabad High Court.
The honorable court has yet to give its final verdict over the matter but the incumbent management led by the Chairman CDA Noor ul Amin Mengal seems to be in hurry to finalize the process without getting a final nod from the court.
According to the CDA Land Disposal Regulations, private schools plots fall under the category of community buildings and facility plots and the same can be allotted after inviting applications and as per the approved criteria laid down by the CDA board.
It is pertinent to mention here that the allotment of plots to the private sector never remained undisputed as in a similar move in past, out of total 15 school plots allotted in 2006-07 by CDA, 12 were cancelled on a later stage on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The apex court stepped into the matter by taking suo moto notice over allotment of a school plot in Diplomatic Enclave throw away price to a former federal minister. The court had observed that the whole process was non transparent and faulty. Sources close to the development informed that a case regarding shifting of private educational institutions is pending before the Islamabad High Court, in which the civic authority had submitted a criteria approved by its board for the allotment of plots to the private sector.
However, they informed that now the management proceeds with a new criteria deviating from the one submitted in the court to favor some blue eyed private school owners.
In the second week of June, the city managers had flouted an advertisement — seeking applications to allocate school plots. In return, a total of 221 potential school owners submitted their expression of interests to get plots and their proposals are under preliminary stage of technical evaluation.
Most of the officers associated with said process are not comfortable with the idea and they considered it as a ‘scam in making’ but were forced to proceed due to an unseen pressure from few quarters.
They believe that the major deviation from the previously approved criteria is to give plots to the private sector on a rental basis instead of leasing. The past experience of the civic authority regarding disposing of state land or properties on rental basis was not quite satisfactory.
As for instance, several shops, restaurants and other amenities given to private parties on rental basis could not succeed as per the original idea because in ninety percent cases, the leaseholders not only defaulted but they are still enjoying the possession without having any lawful justification.
On the other hand, in new criteria for school plots, applications are invited from across the country while the criteria submitted in the high court only allows those schools, which are operating in Islamabad.
Meanwhile, the new criteria also gives 20 marks out of 100 to all those schools, which are operating in residential buildings by violating the building regulations that means the civic authority itself is promoting the illegal acts by giving such leverage in the evaluation process.
As per the land disposal regulations, the estate wing is the custodian of all types of plots in the capital and role of planning wing is limited to the planning alone but in said process the planning wing is evaluating the application by going beyond its mandate.
However, while responding to the written questions of this scribe, Member Planning CDA Waseem Hayat Bajwa said that no allotment of school plots have been done so far and only a process has been initiated.
He said the school policy is under preparation and the first phase is technical evaluation in which everyone is being given an equal opportunity.
Replying to the pending case before high court, Mr. Bajwa said that we are not in hurry and doing this exercise in compliance of court orders and final allotments will be made after a nod from the Islamabad High Court.