Action against agrofarms: CDA starts small, safe

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ISLAMABAD: The action against owners of agrofarms violating the terms of their leases was a long time coming. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) acted against four such violators on Tuesday. The civic body sealed four agrofarms in Orchard Scheme near Benazir Bhutto Road which were being used as marriage halls, in violation of CDA bylaws. But with about 500 of the over 600 agrofarm owners violating the terms of their agreements, according to a 2011 court briefing by former CDA chairman Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, there is much still to be done.

The agricultural farms in Islamabad, or agrofarms, are bound by CDA regulations to grow fruits and vegetables on 80% of the land. But many of them have morphed into residential units and money-making machines for their owners.

Some of these farms are being used as marriage halls, restaurants and musical night venues, while others have been turned into bungalows and mansions. In both cases, the farm owners are in breach of CDA rules.

CDA bylaws state that farms cannot be used for any purpose other than poultry and vegetable farming and the covered area on the farms cannot be more than 20% of the land.

In case of a breach of these bylaws, the CDA can cancel the farm owners’ agreement and take possession of the building without any compensation liability.

The action on Tuesday follows multiple warnings.

On October 25, 2012, the CDA’s building control directorate had issued a notice to the owners of the farms to comply with the terms of their allotment and Islamabad Residential Sectors and Zoning Regulations 2005 within 15 days.

The CDA asked the owners to demolish excess covered area and ensure the supply of vegetables and poultry to local markets as per CDA regulations.

Noncompliance would lead to demolition or removal of nonconforming facilities, The Express Tribune had quoted CDA Spokesperson Ramzan Sajid as saying in a report published on November 5.


Courtesy: Tribune

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