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CDA Denies Monal Restaurant Built On Land Owned By Military

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The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has claimed that Monal Restaurant situated in Islamabad’s Margalla Hills is built on the land owned by the civic body.

After Kohar police approached the CDA over the expansion of Monal by cutting down trees in adjoining areas, the revenue directorate of the CDA carried out demarcation that confirmed that land was owned by the civic body, not the military.

According to a report in Dawn, the area was ‘acquired by the CDA in 1965 in exchange for monetary compensation to its local population’.

On May 18, CDA’s environment wing filed an FIR against Monal for violating environmental laws by cutting down trees on CDA land. When the approached the restaurant on the complaint of the CDA, the management said that the land didn’t belong to the civic body, but to the Pakistan Army.

Dawn said that the suspects argued that the land does not belong to the CDA but to General Headquarters’ (GHQ) Remount Veterinary and Farms Directorate, from which they obtained approval to carry out earth levelling work for beautification purposes.

But the land record confirmed that the land belonged to the CDA that was acquired in exchange for money paid to locals through a land award dated Feb 10, 1965. “The report said that north of this land, there is land belonging to the Reserved Forest, and land to the east and south belongs to GHQ’s Remount Veterinary and Farms Directorate.”

Govt to shut down Monal

The federal government has decided to shut down Monal, a restaurant situated in Margalla Hills of Islamabad, over violations of environmental laws.

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According to Climate Change Minister Zartaj Gul, the restaurant will be demolished by the government as ‘construction and business activities in forests and national parks are prohibited’.

“The government will not only oppose construction but will also demolish the existing infrastructure to restore their biodiversity,” says the state minister for climate change.

The minister said the businesses operating in the national parks weren’t directing enough funds under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agreement for the preservation and restoration.

Giving another reason for the decision to shut down the restaurant, she said these businesses are keen on expansion and whenever they find an opportunity, they try their luck at expansion so. She said Monal was sealed by the Islamabad administration after it chopped down trees to expand illegally.

Blaming the previous governments for such practices, she said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was focused on the preservation of the national parks and to increase the forest cover in the country.

“The federal government has focused on preserving the 15 national parks across Pakistan along with completing the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project to increase the forest cover in Pakistan,” she added.

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Naya Daur