CDA wants to get PTI govt’s decision on buffer zone cancelled
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) board has decided to appeal to the federal cabinet headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to reverse the decision made by the last cabinet of Imran Khan in 2020 about creating a buffer zone in the H sectors.
According to CDA officials, the H-series sectors were not a buffer zone of Islamabad instead it was the ‘I’ series that was the buffer between Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The previous cabinet on Sept 22, 2020, had ordered the CDA to annul all allotted lands/plots where construction had not been started so far.
In 2008, the previous prime minister accepted the reduction of the width of the buffer zone (2,700 feet wide) including the northern half of H-11/2 to 1,000 feet in order to allot land for various institutional use.
The officials stated that considering the decision, plots in H-8, H-9, H-10, H-11, H-12, and H-16 were assigned for the construction of the Central Engineering Lab, Wapda Hospital, Hindu Community Centre and Cremation Temple, PWD Rest House, Regional Training Institutions, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad Traffic Police, Air University, FAST University, and various other government organizations.
The CDA panel in May this year reviewed the case following the 2020 decision of the federal cabinet.
Moreover, the CDA canceled all allotted plots where development had not started yet. Soon after the decision, the allottees approached the CDA demanding that either suitable plots of equivalent size be assigned to them or the plots allotted earlier be returned as the public organizations had already gotten their projects approved through relevant forums.
Meanwhile, member Planning Naveed Ilahi informed the board that the buffer zone was provided between Rawalpindi and Islamabad in the primary master plan of Islamabad as the boundary between the two cities was imagined as Kashmir Highway/Srinagar Highway at that time.
The buffer zone of Islamabad separates the federal capital from Rawalpindi, adding the H series did not come in the actual buffer zone of Islamabad at all.
The officials stated the spirit of the buffer zone in H-16 and its neighboring sectors had already reduced in the 70s when the CDA earmarked land for government buildings there.