Residents of Sector I-17, H-16 still await compensations

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Islamabad High Court will hear arguments by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on May 13 in cases pertaining to the payment of compensation to the affected landowners of sectors H-16 and I-17. There are a total of 33 cases pending before the IHC single bench Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi and the court has sought comments in petitions as well as allowed CDA to submit a detailed report for payments to be given to the land owners of Noon area in some other cases.
The petitioners have sought directions from the court for CDA to pay land compensation for the sectors it announced to acquire years ago. In 2009, the CDA had promised prompt payment but so far they are not paid a single penny.
Some of the petitioners have approached the court seeking its directions for enhance payments, some have preferred to opt land sharing formula rather cash compensation while some others wish to take both, plot as well as cash compensation, from the CDA. According to the land-sharing formula, which is considered a successful model for sector development, after acquiring four kanals of land, the CDA gives one kanal plot to the landowner making it a win-win for both parties. Nevertheless, payment of compensation to affected owners of sectors H-16 and I-17 has been still pending since 2009.
The proposed Sector H-16 consists of total 8,104 Kanals and 10 Marlas while Sector I-17 consists of total 7,971 Kanals and 14 Marlas. Revenue Estates Noon, Bhadana Kallan, Sheikhpur and Jhnagi Syedan fall within Sector H-16 while Noon, Kot Kolian, Bajnial, Narhala and Lakhu areas fall within Sector I-17.
Award for these sectors was announced in 2009 and provision of cash compensation to some 5,719 affected locals was promised. Initially, Rs2.1 billion compensation was distributed among 1,284 affected locals, while 4,435 were yet to be compensated till January 2015. Among other reasons, the process of payment was delayed due to tense situation created by big land owners of the two sectors, as they considered Rs830,000 per kanal compensation insufficient.
One of the petitioners, Muhammad Shabbir, through his counsel said that villages – Noon, Bhadana Kalan, Jhangi Syedan, Sheikhpur and Kot Kollian – are surrounded by the developed sector of I-16, value of its land has increased in recent years and the prevalent price is Rs3 million. “Present compensation proposed to be given to the affectees in the award is ridiculously low and preposterous,” he stated in his petition filed in 2010.
Soon after the announcement of award in 2009, cash compensation of over Rs1 billion was given to a single individual, who is a property tycoon, within a matter of just one day.
Referring to the matter, the petitioner said that some persons successfully ‘persuaded’ the CDA authorities and received their compensation immediately whereas the present petitioners and other affected people were discriminately dealt with by the CDA authorities. “They were not given a penny as compensation of the land,” he said. The petitioners have prayed the court to direct the CDA Chairman, Deputy Commissioner and Director Land & Rehabilitation to give compensation of the land without any further delay and avoiding further discriminating behaviour.

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