ISLAMABAD:

The government has approved the transfer of 150 acres of land to the Special Technology Zone Authority (STZA) for setting up a special zone for technological advancement in Islamabad in a bid to boost the IT sector.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has identified the land for establishing the technology zone.

The Cabinet Division said that the STZA had been established under the STZA Ordinance 2020. The authority has been mandated to set up Special Technology Zones (STZs) across Pakistan. Initially, one STZ each is to be set up in Islamabad, Lahore, Haripur, Karachi and Quetta.

The prime minister had directed the CDA and STZA to finalise the terms and conditions for utilising the land identified by the CDA for setting up the technology zone in Islamabad.

The Cabinet Division was directed to submit the case with the federal cabinet for approval. Accordingly, a piece of land measuring 150 acres, currently lying unutilised with the National Institute of Health (NIH), was identified.

Views of the CDA and the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination were sought on the identified piece of land and terms and conditions for its transfer to the STZA.

The Cabinet Division sought approval of the federal cabinet for the transfer of 150 acres of land from the NIH to the STZA on the finalised terms and conditions.

According to the terms and conditions, immediate possession will be given but payment will be made over five years in equal annual installments. Payments will commence two years after the date of taking over possession of the land.

CDA may carry out ground work, which is the preliminary work, so that the land can be separated from the NIH and the site can be prepared for full-scale development.

The cabinet was informed that the proposal for allotment of the land was received from the Prime Minister’s Office, in consultation with the CDA and the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Division.

The CDA chairman gave a detailed presentation to the cabinet. He highlighted that the Federal Commission for Review of Master Plan gave the vision of transforming Islamabad into a “knowledge city”. The prime minister issued directive on December 14, 2020.

The lease of 110-120 acres out of the 606 acres leased out to NIH has expired and the land proposed for the STZ is lying unutilised. On December 24, the CDA board approved the land use analysis of the STZ.

The cost of land has been calculated at Rs3,638 per square yard and the total amount will be Rs2.2 billion.

Payment plan

The payment will be made over five years in equal installments with a two-year grace period. To jump-start the project, the CDA will carry out ground work before the mobilisation of contractors by the STZ. In this regard, consent of the National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Division had been sought.

During discussion, both the secretary and special adviser to PM on health endorsed the arrangement.

The cabinet took note of the presentation made by the CDA chairman and considered a summary titled “Creation of Special Technology Zones Authority; Utilising the Land Identified by CDA to Set Up a Special Technology Zone in Islamabad”, submitted by the Cabinet Division, and approved the proposal subject to actual demarcation on the ground.

This post was originally published in Express Tribune