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CDA retrieves 15 acres of state land from Centaurus Mall

CDA retrieves 15 acres of state land from Centaurus Mall

ISLAMABAD: In one of the major anti-encroachment operations in recent years, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Wednesday retrieved 15 acre prime state land worth over Rs20 billion allegedly encroached upon by Centaurus Mall.

According to the CDA’s spokesperson Mazhar Hussain, a residential complex comprising around 400 rooms and office complex containing around 150 rooms were turned into debris amidst resistance causing injuries to six including to the director Enforcement.

On the other hand, the management of the Centaurus Mall termed the operation illegal and an arm-twisting act of the civic agency.

When the CDA’s team launched operation, the Centaurus staff started pelting the team with stones. As a result they dispersed but member Estate Khushal Khan made them to gather again after an hour-long effort and launch the operation with full force.

In the second round, the team targeted the residential complex amid strong resistance from the staff of the mall that resulted into injuries to six CDA officials.

Member Estate then called extra police and launched operation after an hour with new zeal, razing all encroachments.

The operation was participated by more than 150 officials of Enforcement Wing, 30 officials of Environment Wing, assistant directors and building inspectors of BCS also participated in the operation. Heavy machinery was also utilised during the operation.

The mega operation against encroachments was started early in the morning. During this operation, two-storey office complex consisting of 150 fabricated and fully furnished rooms, allegedly constructed illegally on the state land was razed with the help of heavy machinery.

Similarly, residences of employees of Centaurus Mall comprising 400 rooms were also demolished.

These rooms were presenting a look of a small residential colony. All these constructions and encroachments were demolished completely. Furthermore, containers, barriers and fences installed in the name of security were also razed.

According to the CDA, during the operation, Centaurus Mall administration and employees got the operation halted twice and started pelting the CDA staff with stones injuring director Enforcement, three CDA officials and two Islamabad Police officials.

The staff also destroyed an excavator and a dozer completely in addition to damaging many official and operational vehicles.

In this context, two separate applications for lodging FIRs were submitted in the relevant police stations.

Assistant Commissioner ICT Dr Fasial provided full assistance and played a vital role in making the operation a success and helped in arresting three miscreants involved in the incidents.

When contacted, Sardar Yasir, Senior Vice President of Centaurus Mall termed the CDA’s operation illegal.

He claimed that the CDA had itself allowed to construct site offices for residential purposes until completion of a project. Asked which project is currently under construction he said that a hotel was being constructed and labour and security staff was living in the said the residential area.

He, however, denied the figure of 400 rooms being provided by CDA to media and said CDA had been trying to blackmail Centaurus management through such operation.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2017

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