ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has stopped the project it began a few months ago to install pillars to mark the border of Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP).
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The CDA stated in August that the exercise would be finished in two months, however sources claim that the CDA stopped construction after installing a few hundred pillars.
“As a result of the tendering procedure, the project has currently been suspended. Prior to calling for bids, we initially began the exercise using own resources. The project was put on hold because we ultimately decided to pursue a formal tendering procedure, according to a CDA director.
He stated that the work would begin soon after the tendering procedure. In the interim, the director stated, the Survey of Pakistan had finished demarcating most regions, with the exception of Shah Allah Ditta and a few spots in Bhara Kahu, where the boundary follows non-acquired privately owned territory.
‘Proper tendering process’ will be followed before work resumes.
Before the construction was stopped, “almost 60% of the demarcation work was completed while we installed a few hundred boundary pillars,” a representative stated. It is important to note that the Margalla Hills National Park’s custodian, the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), recently communicated a resolution it recently passed addressing the national park and the demarcation process with the CDA.
The IWMB concerns and the resolution were included in a CDA paper that was presented to the CDA board last month. “The MNHP is composed of three types of land,” it said. “The Military Grazing Land, which was originally owned by the Punjab Forest Department and leased over to CDA in 1971, the Reserved Forest Compartments, and the CDA-acquired land. The villages included in the MHNP out of the acquired villages have a lot of concerns, however there is no question regarding the Reserved Forest Compartments and Military Grazing Land, according to the IWMB’s resolution.
The notification from 1980 does not contain the “Khasra” number and precise quantity of land, according to the document that explained the problems with communities’ land in the national park. So, it was discovered that some villages, including Saidpur, Kalinger, Sinari, and Sanduie, are partially part of sectors when the massavies were placed on Google Maps prior to being demarcated by the Survey of Pakistan.
“There is definitely no overlap; rather, the notification, which was issued by the Ministry of Urban Affairs in 1980, contained an error. …The paper said that “the notifications for the other national parks throughout the country have the precise quantum of land with khasra number.”
It went on to say that when the announcement was made at the time, the area near Shakarparian designated for sports and recreation in the Master Plan was also included, which led to daily complaints from the IWMB.
According to the summary, “Now, the IWMB has conveyed through a letter that the areas which the claim to have been encroached may be swapped with the acquired land available within immediate proximity of the Margalla Hills, establishment of buffer zone in Zone III and demarcation with revised boundaries.” The CDA board decided to make a decision regarding this summary after the demarcation process was finished.
A CDA revenue officer informed Dawn that the demarcation process would shortly begin. “A meeting was conducted last week. I anticipate that the delineation work will resume in a few days,” he said.
It is important to remember that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the CDA to demarcate the limits of the MHNP within 60 days in January of last year. The CDA did not, however, follow the IHC’s directive. The procedure was initiated in August of this year but afterwards put on hold.
A five-person committee was appointed by the CDA in March of last year to carry out the national park’s designation in light of the IHC decision.
The members of the body would include, among others, officials of the military ministry and the Survey of Pakistan, according to the notification dated March 1 of last year.
“The respective secretaries of the Ministries of Defence, Interior, and the Chairman [of] CDA shall jointly conduct a survey and demarcate the unharmed area of the notified national park,” the IHC decision noted. After the date of this order, the survey and delineation must be completed within 60 days. The vast naval golf course in the MHNP was to be sealed up and demolished within four weeks unless an environmentally appropriate use could be found, as the court had already instructed the CDA to do.
The IHC also instructed the CDA to close Monal Restaurant and denied the military’s claim to more than 8,000 acres of national park property. Later, the Supreme Court issued a stay order in favor of Monal’s operator.