Cancellation of employee plots allotment, protests at CDA

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Jan 11, 2013.

Islamabad – The Capital Development Authority (CDA) canceled the allotment of 109 plots to grade-17 and grade-19 officials on Thursday after hundreds of grade-1 to grade-16 employees came out in protest against the allotment.

The protesters, most of them union workers, walked from the CDA offices in sector G-6 to Aabpara Chowk. They alleged the labourers and low ranking employees have been ignored in plot allotments. Another group of employees registered their protest at the CDA headquarters in G-7/4.

The protests started after CDA issued letters of plot allotment to 109 officers, including 18 officials on deputation, earlier this week. The letters were canceled through a notification issued by CDA Chairman Syed Tahir Shahbaz on Thursday.

In December, the Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had acted on a recommendation by Shahbaz and imposed a ban on plots for officers working in CDA on deputation.

The officers who were on deputation before the current administration took over have a right to get a plot, Shahbaz told The Express Tribune. But he said he had not passed any new orders for plots to be allotted to officers working on deputation, or otherwise, in the agency.

Shahbaz said he has formed a committee, comprising member planning Syed Mustafain Kazmi, member estate Shaista Sohail and member environment Kazim Niaz, to formulate a legal framework for plot allotments in the future. The committee will submit its recommendations in the next two to four days, he said.

The balloting for the 109 plots, to be allotted in sectors D-12 and I-8, took place in 2012 under previous CDA chairman Farkhand Iqbal.

The CDA had first allotted 3,400 plots to officials and employees in 2007, during Kamran Lashari’s tenure. The allotments were made possible by the 2005 Land Disposal Regulations (LDR), which made officers with 10 years of government service and 1 year of CDA service eligible for a plot. The allotment took place after the Supreme Court upheld the LDR’s criteria, said an official.

The LDR also reserved 20 per cent of each residential sector for CDA employees.

After 2007, when other officials reached the criteria set by the definition, they demanded plots as well. In the absence of a set policy for plot allotments, the officials moved court and the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court ruled in their favour.

After appeals and a lengthy legal process, in 2011 the high court’s initial decision in favour of the officials reached finality. This led to the balloting in 2012.

Meanwhile, union workers and low ranking employees had also demanded plots under the same rules.

The time for a separate balloting of plots for union workers had been fixed, CDA spokesperson Ramzan Sajid said. But some workers got a stay on the balloting because they wanted the plot allotment to reflect their job scales which had changed before the balloting date was set.

Sajid said that the plot balloting for union workers would take place once the stay is vacated

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