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Police help sought for operation against unauthorised housing society

Police help sought for operation against unauthorised housing society

ISLAMABAD: After facing strong resistance from the landlords recently, the city managers on Friday sought help from the police and the local administration to carry out an operation against an unauthorised housing society in Shah Allah Ditta.

The CDA is planning to carry out the operation against the housing scheme - North Ridge - operating on a private land in Zone III on Monday.

In a letter to the chief commissioner, IGP and the deputy commissioner Islamabad, the CDA sought police assistance and magisterial cover, including an appropriate force from Rangers.

The CDA said it was going to take action against the society and other unauthorised constructions in Zone III and Margalla Hills National Park on the directives of Supreme Court. The civic agency said it was bound to submit a compliance report to the apex court on Nov 29.

CDA plans to launch operation in Shah Allah Ditta after it faced resistance from locals

“The detailed action plan is being worked out by CDA. However, to initiate action against the unauthorised construction it is suggested to start action from the illegal housing scheme namely North Ridge located in the north of Sector D-12,” added the letter from Director Environment Irfan Azeem Khan.

It said the road originating from the north service road of Sector D-12 and leading to the illegal housing society and internal roads/bridges of the society should be cut off. “The under-construction buildings may be demolished and utility services dismantled.”

On Oct 23, the CDA had launched an operation in the area but had to suspend it after facing strong resistance from the locals. Later, the CDA got an FIR registered against local Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) leader Ameer Zubair Farooq Khan and six other people for putting resistance and violating section I44.

The JI leader also holds land in the society. Recently, he told Dawn that North Ridge was not a society rather some houses were built on a private land.

He said there was no question of encroachment on the state land as the locals had constructed houses on their own land.

Zone III comprises 50,393 acres out of which 40,000 acres are a part of Margalla Hills National Park as notified under section 21 of the Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Ordinance 1979. The remaining 10,000 acres is a private land.

According to a recent CDA advertisement, Zone III and Margalla Hills comprises protected ranges, forests, Margalla Hills and non-acquired land situated between the northern side of Murree Road and other areas such as Shah Allah Ditta, Chontra, Lakhwal, Banigala, Saidpur, Malpur, Bhara Kahu, Kot Hathial and Sangjani. All kind of construction is banned in this area.

The scenic Banigala, which falls in the Rawal Dam catchment area, also falls in Zone III but because of CDA’s negligence it is dotted with hundreds of unauthorised residential and commercial buildings.

“Today, we have written to all concerned officers for carrying out a grand operation in Shah Allah Ditta. At a later stage, we will move to other areas,” said the director environment.

He said according to CDA’s zoning regulations 1992, construction was banned in the entire Zone III. However, old settlements on private land were allowed to carry out necessary repair work.

The CDA never made any serious attempts to get its zoning regulations implemented in Zone III.

“I do acknowledge that massive construction activities have already taken place in Zone III. But we are making efforts to ensure no new house is constructed in this protected zone,” said the director environment.

The CDA documents show the entire Shah Allah Ditta area falling in Zone III but Deputy Mayor Syed Zeeshan Naqvi, who also holds inherited land in Shah Allah Ditta, claimed that the area falls in Zone II.

He said instead of creating harassment through operations the CDA should come up with a solution to facilitate the locals.

An official in the capital administration said several influential people, including bureaucrats, had purchased land in Zone III near Shah Allah Ditta. He said property business in the area had seen a boom during the last 10 years.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2017

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