Now Reading: Monal Restaurant Constructed on CDA Land, Inquiry Reveals
The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has stated that Monal Restaurant – the scenic eatery in the protected Margalla Hills National Park, is actually constructed on land owned by it. This was revealed by the CDA in response to a query by Islamabad’s Kohsar police when CDA’s Directorate of Revenue conducted a demarcation exercise under the supervision of Tehsildar Yasir Shah.
Earlier this year in May, a five-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed ordered that the trees that were removed by Monal Restaurant for its attempted expansion be replanted by the Islamabad administration. The CDA’s environment wing registered an FIR against Monal’s administration, who claimed that they “levelled the Earth for beautification”, with the Kohsar police for cutting trees on land owned by CDA.
However, during the investigation, the police objected that the suspects nominated in the FIR argued that the land does not belong to the CDA but to General Headquarters’ (GHQ) Remount Veterinary and Farms Directorate. Furthermore, they stated that restaurant’s owner had been paying rent to both organizations for the last year because of the lack of clarity around the land’s ownership. These organizations also were the ones that gave the approval to carry out ‘earth levelling work for beautification purposes’.
Police sources said that they asked the CDA, through an official letter on September 15th, about the details of the land’s ownership on which Monal is built. Therefore, when contacted, CDA Tehsildar Yasir Shah sent the police a demarcation report, putting out the details before them. “We conducted the demarcation at the police’s request, and the report has been sent to them,” he said.
In said report, the CDA confirmed that Monal – along with its adjoining areas where construction was recently attempted as well – belongs to CDA. The CDA’s report said this area is part of Chackgaa in Saidpur village, which the CDA obtained in 1965 in exchange for monetary compensation to the local population. The area then consummated stretches from Khasra No.2422 to 2445, collectively making over 753 kanals.
Moreover, the reported added that the land owned by the General Headquarters’ (GHQ) Remount Veterinary and Farms Directorate (RVFD) is actually to the east and south of the Monal Restaurant and its adjoining areas whereas the land towards the north belongs to the Reserved Forest. About construction of Monal, CDA’s Directorate of Revenue clarified that the municipal corporation had constructed the restaurant in 2005-06 with its own financial resources under the Chairmanship of Kamran Lashari.
It had then leased Monal Restaurant to a private contractor for 15 years, which is going to expire next year.