CDA to review private school plot rental applications

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) is scheduled to review on Wednesday (today) more than 200 applications submitted by proprietors of private schools for plots on rent from the municipal agency, as opposed to being sold at auction.

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After failing to relocate private schools from residential areas, the CDA has adopted a new policy of renting out parcels to private parties.

The CDA received 245 applications from across the nation in response to its advertisement; on Wednesday, a five-member committee led by DG Planning will examine the applications.

A CDA official stated that the municipal agency allots plots to government schools at subsidized rates, but sites should ideally be allotted to private schools through a competitive process.

The report was submitted to the Islamabad High Court in 2019 after the CDA had finalized a policy regarding private schools after holding a series of meetings with stakeholders, proposing a number of measures to deal with private schools operating in residential areas in particular, and having finalised a policy regarding private schools.

It was proposed that private schools operating in residential areas be given three years to relocate, and that Montessori and nursery schools be opened in every sector. The policy also recommended that private institutions be permitted on private land in Zones 2, 4, and 5.

In this regard, bylaws have been formulated that must be adhered to for the construction of schools in these areas, and the CDA will assist the administrations of these schools in obtaining NOC and in the approval process. However, there was no mention of renting out sections in the policy.

In 2008, the CDA allotted plots to private schools, a scheme that was highly dubious and scandalous. Only three of the 19 plots allocated by the CDA were deemed lawful by the courts. As a result, the municipal agency had to rescind the allocation of sixteen plots.

According to the scheme’s advertisement, the CDA was only supposed to interact with schools based in Islamabad; however, it primarily allocated plots to schools based in other cities. In addition to accepting applications after the deadline, the CDA was also accused of selectively allocating properties in various sectors.

According to CDA officials, there are approximately 100 properties available for rent lease.

In April of this year, the CDA board authorised a policy to rent-lease land to private schools. It was determined at the meeting that the financial model will be finalised later.

It was decided that plots will be rented to private schools based on a 100-point scale, with 20 points assigned to schools operating in houses and 25 points assigned to schools charge between Rs5,000 and Rs15,000. The board also resolved that the schools cannot increase tuition by more than five percent annually.

Waseem Hayat Bajwa, a member of the planning CDA, stated that the committee will review the application at its meeting on Wednesday.

He stated that properties will be rented in an open manner. According to the member, extant regulations make no mention of the commercial sale of private school land.

Therefore, we will utilise a rental model. The owners of schools that will be given plots on rent cannot unilaterally increase fees; rather, before receiving plots, they will have to sign an agreement with the CDA stipulating that fees cannot exceed a predetermined cap,” he said, adding that nothing is final as the committee has yet to complete its technical evaluation of the applications.

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