The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to backtrack on its controversial decision to auction off apartments, initially intended for low-income citizens, to overseas Pakistanis in its Nilor Height Project. CDA partners with NPHDA to launch an affordable housing project.
This decision comes in the wake of legal challenges and widespread criticism that accused the civic agency of neglecting its initial commitment to cater to the housing needs of the lower strata of society.
CDA Partners with NPHDA for Housing Project
The Nilor Height Project, valued at Rs31 billion, aimed to provide affordable housing by constructing over 4,000 apartments on CDA-acquired land. The project’s first phase saw the completion of 2,400 small apartments, each measuring 779 square feet, spread across 60 blocks of ground-plus-four storeys. While the finishing work on these units is pending, the controversy arose when the CDA deviated from its original plan to allocate these apartments to the low-income group.
Sources reveal that the current CDA management has reconsidered its stance and opted to engage the Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority (NPHDA) once again to oversee the distribution of the housing units to the intended beneficiaries. An agreement between CDA and NPHDA is in the pipeline, and CDA plans to charge the authority with a non-commercial approach, requiring them to deposit Rs4 million against each apartment in installments.
The project, initially named ‘Farash Town’ apartment scheme in 2021, underwent a name change to Nilore Height Project last year. The original plan entailed allocating 2,000 apartments to NPHDA for low-income groups and 400 apartments for slum dwellers in the city area.
Earlier this year, the CDA faced backlash for attempting to auction 2,000 apartments to overseas Pakistanis at $30,000 per unit. The move attracted 6,000 applications, but legal challenges led to the postponement of the balloting scheduled for May. Notably, the NPHDA had already conducted a balloting for under-construction apartments for low-income citizens.
CDA Chairman Anwarul Haq, upon assuming office, prioritized the interests of the lower-income groups and directed NPHDA to procure the apartments. Haq emphasized that these units should be allotted to the intended beneficiaries rather than being subjected to commercial auction.
The controversy had even caught the attention of then-Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who ordered an inquiry into the CDA’s actions, questioning the scheme’s launch for overseas Pakistanis without addressing legal issues.
Amid these developments, sources report that the CDA chairman has instructed the engineering wing to explore options for increasing the number of storeys from nine to 13 in the second phase. This expansion aims to accommodate more housing units, raising the total from 1,876 to 2,500 under phase two of the Nilor Height Project.