ISLAMABAD: The glaring discrepancies about housing schemes in Zone-IV came to the fore on Tuesday as a panel of lawmakers took the Capital Development Authority to the task.
A sub-committee meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat was held at the Parliament House on Tuesday with Senator Kulsoom Parveen in the chair. The sub-committee reviewed changes in Islamabad’s master plan in detail.
Capital Development Authority (CDA) Director Master Plan Zafar Iqbal Zafar, while sharing details of the plan, told the committee that out of the 64 housing schemes operating in the capital’s Zone-IV, around 50 schemes were illegal or fake.
According to the master plan, Zafar said Islamabad was divided into three zones with Rawalpindi and cantonments areas separated from the capital in 1963. He added that Islamabad and its adjoining areas were spread over 960 kilometres. However, the CDA controls an area of around 200 kilometres while remaining 760kms is controlled by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
In 1993, the city was divided into five zones after changes in the master plan. Created in May 1960, the master plan was supposed to be reviewed every 20 years, but the revisions were never made as per the provision.
At this, Senator Parveen said that locals who had sold their lands and properties for the development of Islamabad had to purchase plots to settle their families. She maintained that due to the incompetence of the relevant departments, many committed fraud by setting up bogus housing schemes – taking money from investors and then running away after plundering billions from the unsuspecting public.
However, instead of wrapping up such illegal societies, the senator suggested that CDA should devise a mechanism to grant legal cover to these illegal housing societies once they have completed all legal requirements of CDA. The sub-committee directed the CDA to submit a detailed report of the illegal and fake housing schemes operating in Zone-IV and submit a comprehensive plan to grant them legal cover.
CDA officials’ told the committee members that due to measures were taken by the civic body, no illegal society can advertise in the print or electronic media, nor could they secure utility connections such as electricity, gas or water lines.
At this committee member, Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that it would be unjustified to restrict access to utility connections for those who had purchased plots in societies where a large number of housing units have been built.
He urged the civic body to adopt a policy so that owners of illegal housing societies are compelled to provide such facilities to plot buyers and which help to bring these societies under the legal ambit.
The committee members were told that according to article 11 of the CDA Act, the master plan can be changed.
At this, the committee’s convener said that the parliamentary had never approved the CDA Act.
Parveen said that even though the Rawal Dam was part of Islamabad, there was no permission for its residents to use water from its lake. She said that there was a need to amendment the CDA Act in this regard.
The senator went on to add that the capital’s population was rising fast. She made a bizarre statement that those who gave up their lands and property to pave way for development of the capital were not being allowed to use its water, overlooking the fact that most of those who had given up their lands and properties for building Islamabad were not living in the capital.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2017.