Pakistan News

Operation against illegal expansion of govt houses on the cards

ISLAMABAD: If all goes as planned, the Ministry of Housing and Works with the support of other state organisations will start massive operations against illegal expansion of government-owned houses located in various sectors of Islamabad.

This decision was made during a meeting held here with Federal Secretary Housing Iftikhar Ali Shallwani in the chair. It was attended by chief commissioner and CDA Chairman Noorul Amin Mengal, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Irfan Nawaz Memon, Director General Estate Office Ghulam Sarwar and others.

In Islamabad, large numbers of government houses have been modified with illegal expansion. Single storey houses in various sectors including F-6, G-6 and G-7 have been illegally extended.

A press release issued by the ministry stated that during the course of the meeting, DG Estate Office Ghulam Sarwar apprised officials regarding the implementation status of recommendations by the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on Housing and Works upon issues pertaining to additional construction and subletting of government-owned residential accommodations.

The meeting was told that final notices have already been issued to residents of government homes by the Estate Office over extra construction inside courtyard/rooftops and for disturbing the original map of buildings.

Federal Secretary Housing Mr Shallwani directed officials to start an anti-encroachment drive immediately. He said that encroachments in Islamabad have been increasing day by day, compromising the beauty of the planned city and causing inconvenience for the public.

He emphasised on restoration of footpaths to their original condition. The press release said that the chief commissioner and deputy commissioner offered their full support to the ministry in the matter.

It is relevant to note here that government employees living in official houses in the capital city have made extensions to buildings and in some cases even raised additional storeys in violation of by-laws of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

A majority of those allotted government accommodations have also encroached on adjoining areas by building extra rooms.

A resident of G-7, who was allotted a government house, told Dawn that houses allotted to low grade employees were very small and meant for only four-member families but, with the passage of time, as families grew and to accommodate members, many employees carried out illegal construction.

It has also been noticed that many illegal extensions were made to sublet tenants. Some government employees said that besides other factors, the ministry, to some extent is also responsible for this illegal construction as it has failed to provide government-owned houses to all employees.

They said that thousands of employees are on general waiting lists to get the allotment of houses, but to no avail. The ministry failed to construct new accommodations and lack of shortage of houses also contributed towards illegal extension of existing ones.

“Removing illegal construction is a good step as illegal storeys and extra construction is a big load on utility services. But the government should also go for construction of new houses as besides other private tenants, many government officials are also living on rent in illegally extended houses,” said an official.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2023

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