The owner of an Islamabad private school has acquired a premium 9.23 Kanal site in the H-8 area at ‘astonishingly’ low prices.

According to sources, the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) estate wing awarded the school owner a property of the same size in F-11 in 2007-08. However, it was eventually cancelled when residents of the locality made reservations.

Eventually, on the Supreme Court’s orders, the CDA reviewed the matter and re-allotted the plot to the school in the H-8 area, which is solely allocated for educational institutions.

At the time of re-allotment, the CDA calculated the cost to be Rs. 84,716 per square yard for a 9.23 Kanal property, which implied that the plot’s allottee had to pay Rs. 475 million to the CDA in order to receive the allotment certificate.

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However, in May of this year, the CDA’s estate wing changed its mind and awarded the land for Rs. 237.5 million, about half the initial price.

“The premium rate worked out at Rs. 475,629,510/. The premium rate per square yard is subject to vary and may be levied appropriately from time to time,” according to a leaked CDA file.

“If the foregoing offer is agreeable, please arrange for payment of the property price of Rs. 475,629,510, plus AGR @ Rs. 6 worked out to Rs. 33,687, within four months of the date of this letter, so that this office may continue with the case.”

“In compliance with the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s judgment/decision dated 30-9-2016 in Civil Petition… of 2014 and Civil Review Petition of 2015, your proposal has been considered/examined by Member (P&D), CDA and admitted to, and Authority has decided to offer plot no. 101 measuring 5614.40 square yards in Sector H-8, Islamabad,” the document continued.

The tariffs were set when the contract was done previously, according to individuals familiar with the situation. In May 2021, however, the estate wing released a new offer letter with lower rates, bringing the total cost down to Rs. 237.5 million from Rs. 475 million.

After the school owner accepted the offer and paid the necessary fee, the final allotment letter was sent out.

In an interview with Dawn News, CDA Member Estate Naveed Illahi and Director of Estate Management Anwar Khan justified the allocation, claiming that the tariffs were cut downward on the proposal of the financial wing.

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They claimed that the previous tariffs were not intended for school plots. According to the director, it was an old matter because the plot in Islamabad was initially assigned in 2008 and taxed at the school rate.

It’s important considering that the CDA Islamabad has previously allocated school sites based on discard rates. Although, in 2007, a strategy for private schools was implemented, in which 19 sites were granted to school owners at lower rates. However, after widespread condemnation from civil society and the media, 17 of the 19 schemes, including this one, were cancelled.