CDA drops plan to sell Nilor Height apartments to overseas Pakistani's

ISLAMABAD: In the wake of legal hiccup and criticism, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has given up the idea of selling apartments originally built for people with low income in its Nilor Height Project to overseas Pakistanis.

The civic agency has decided to engage the Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority (NPHDA) again to offer these housing units to the lower strata of society.

Under the project worth Rs31 billion, the CDA has been building over 4,000 apartments on its acquired land.

The project has two phases. Under the first phase, 2,400 small apartments (each measuring 779 square feet) have been built and only finishing work on them is pending. Under this phase, CDA constructed 2,400 apartments in 60 blocks of ground-plus-four storeys.

Sources told Dawn that the current management of the CDA had decided that the 2,400 apartments will be disposed of through the housing authority as per the original plan and soon both the CDA and NPHDA will sign an agreement.

The sources said the CDA will charge the authority against each apartment with a non-commercial approach and theywill be asked to deposit Rs4 million against each apartment in installments.

“Nothing is final yet as the draft agreement is being prepared and soon both the parties will sign it,” said an officer of the CDA.

The project was initially named ‘Farash Town’ apartment scheme in 2021. The name was, however, changed to Nilore Height Project last year.

The 2,400 apartments were originally meant for lower strata of the society and the CDA had decided that these housing units will be allotted to low income group. As per its original plan, the CDA was supposed to hand over 2,000 apartments to NPHDA for further allotments and 400 apartments were meant for allotment to slum dwellers living in city area.

The second phase (whose foundation work is in progress) is meant for commercial auction and CDA will construct state-of-the-art 1,876 apartments of various sizes up to 1441 square feet.

However, in a big surprise earlier this year, the CDA instead of ensuring allotment of the apartments of the first phase to low income group decided to auction 2,000 apartments to overseas Pakistanis at a price of $30,000 per apartment.

The CDA floated an advertisement and received an overwhelming response of 6,000 applications from overseas Pakistanis. The balloting was supposed to be held in May but could be held due to litigation.

Earlier, the NPHDA also held a balloting to allot the under-construction apartments to people with low income. When these people came to know that the CDA was now going to sell the apartments to overseas Pakistanis, they filed court cases and the balloting could not be held.

Sources said when the matter came under the notice of incumbent CDA Chairman Anwarul Haq, he decided that NPHDA should be given priority and asked to procure these apartments. The sources said the CDA chief was of the view that the apartments meant for the poor people should be allotted to them instead of being put on commercial auction.

In May this year, the then prime minister Shehbaz Sharif had also ordered an inquiry against the CDA for launching the scheme for overseas Pakistanis without removing legal issues.

Meanwhile, sources said the CDA chairman directed the engineering wing to explore options to increase the number of storeys from nine to 13 to increase the number of 1,876 apartments up to 2,500 under phase two of the scheme.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2023

latest News