Landowners seek compensation from CAA

CHITRAL, Jan 20: The residents of Balach have called upon the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to pay them compensation if it wants them not to construct houses on their land near the Chitral airport. A meeting was held at Balach under the chairmanship of retired assistant coordination officer (ACO) Miftahuddin and attended by a large number of people who own land near the runway of the airport. Fazal Rahim Advocate of the PML-N, Mohammad Hakeem Advocate, the General Secretary of PPP, Azmat Esa, a retired public prosecutor, and other participants of the meeting said there was no CAA Act until 1997-98. They said the CAA used not to allow construction in the area 750 feet away from the middle of the runway at that time. But the CAA had issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the government grain godown (warehouse), and a vocational institute within the same radius. Now the authority is pressuring local people not to construct houses in the area. Zafar Ahmad, a bank manager, said “I was barred from construction while my land is situated at 1,500 feet from the runway.” The local people said Deputy Commissioner Chitral Rahmatullah Wazir was constructing his house near the runway and was allowed by a local court. However, the CAA was harassing him by media trial unnecessarily. They alleged that the CAA was not following uniform policy because some owners continued construction while others were being stopped midway. There is an acute shortage of planned land in Chitral but CAA is not allowing local people to construct or purchase the land at the market rate. They said the CAA should acquire this land and keep it preserved for the future extension of the airport. It is worth mentioning here that the CAA Act was extended to Chitral on March 25, 1998, but after implementation of the law in Chitral some government buildings were constructed in the runway area. Local people revealed that a court had issued a decree in favor of the owner of land conditionally that CAA should pay them according to market rate with 15% compensation of construction within one year but CAA kept silent and did nothing within the prescribed period of time and the decree matured. Residents of Balach demanded of the high-ups of CAA to allow them to construct their residential houses or compensate them according to prevailing market rate to enable them to shift to some other place. When a CAA official was contacted by this scribe, he said, “We have already displayed a notice on boards in the area prohibiting construction within 750 feet from the centre of the runway and some houses are very close to runway.”]]>

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