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105 illegal housing societies dot Islamabad

105 illegal housing societies dot Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Though Islamabad is considered to be one of the most planned cities of the world, members of the National Assembly standing committee on cabinet secretariat were on Friday informed that there were 105 illegal housing societies in the city.

During a meeting of the committee, officials of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) informed the lawmakers that the housing societies never submitted their layout plans to the civic agency besides violating its by-laws. Moreover, due to the absence of sewerage systems in Zone IV and V, the sewage was being thrown into open drains and nullahs there.

Documents handed to the members of the committee showed that there were 16 illegal housing societies in Zone II, III and Sector E-11. Prominent among the illegal societies were Jammu and Kashmir (F-15), Green Meadows North Ridge, Green Hills, Major Makhdoom Society (Zone III) and Supreme Court Employees Housing Scheme (G-17). The Services Housing Scheme and Federation of Employees Housing Scheme in Sector E-11 are also illegal.

In Zone IV, there are 60 illegal housing societies, including Bahria Enclave-I at Kuri Road, all phases of Ghouri Town, Doctors Enclave at Simly Dam Road, New University Town, PTV Colony, Gulberg Town Housing Scheme (Phase II), Madina Town and Media City-I.

Besides, 29 illegal housing societies were illegal in Zone V, which included Parliamentarians Enclave, National Police Foundation, Pak PWD, Media Town, Pakistan Town (Phase II), New Model Town Humak, Ghouri Town, Judicial Employees Housing Scheme and Television Media Town.

Maroof Afzal, the CDA chairman, informed the committee that under the law no development work can be launched in the capital without the approval of the civic agency.

“The housing societies have to submit their layout plans but they did not. Moreover, Iesco and the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines cannot provide connections without the approval of the CDA,” he said.

Now both Iesco and the SNGPL have been taken onboard and they have assured us that they would not provide connections to the illegal housing societies anymore, he said.

Waseem Ahmed, the CDA member planning, added that for the first time a survey was conducted about illegal housing societies in the capital.

“All the housing societies have been developed without the approval of the CDA. The housing societies have violated the basic by-laws such as allocating seven per cent space for parks or playgrounds, two per cent land for public buildings (library and community centre) and two per cent of the space for graveyards,” he said.

Besides, all roads should be at least 40 feet wide and 20 per cent plots should be mortgaged with the CDA so that in case the society concerned fails to complete the development work, the civic agency will finish it by selling the plots. However, the housing societies never followed these rules, he said.

MNA Mehreen Razzaq Bhutto of the PPP wondered how the CDA remained unaware of the development of the societies.

“Every management puts the responsibility on their predecessors and the next chairman CDA will also do the same,” she said.

MNA Nafeesa Inayatullah, who belongs to the PTI, said the top management of the civic agency was honest but the lower officials were involved in corruption.

However, the chairman of the committee, Rana Mohammad Hayat Khan, said corruption of such a magnitude could not be committed without the involvement of the top management.

An official of the CDA requesting anonymity told Dawn that almost all the illegal housing societies were launched during the last about 20 years.

“Federal ministers used to participate in the inaugural ceremonies of the housing societies so it was impossible to take action against them.”

He said the CDA management also played the role of a facilitator instead of stopping the establishment of the illegal societies. “Moreover, there are a number of slums in Islamabad so it should no longer be considered a planned city,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2015

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