RAWALPINDI, Aug 27: The Rawal Town Municipal Administration (RTMA) is starting a fresh survey of the commercial and domestic units in the town constructed after 2005 in order to check whether these buildings are constructed on approved building plans or not.
A senior official of the RTMA told Dawn that the civic body wanted to recover building fee from those building owners who constructed commercial and domestic buildings without getting approval from the RTMA.
“To avoid political interference, the civic body planned to collect outstanding amount during the interim government before the general elections in the country,” he said and added that the provincial government would stop the process if they launched action before the elections.
He said that more than 1,000 commercial buildings and 5,000 domestic units were constructed in the city in the last seven years, without approval of building plans.
The newly built buildings are located in Raja Bazaar, Commercial Market, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Road, Jamia Masjid Road, Banni Chowk, College Road aka China Market, Moti Bazaar, Sarafa Bazaar and adjoining bazaars. Some of these buildings are located in narrow streets and will be dangerous if they did not adopted building bylaws in future.
The RTMA official said that these buildings were also posing a threat as the building owners did not adopt the rules and regulations issued by the civic body to avoid fire incidents and earthquake shocks. He said that the civic body would also check whether these buildings adopted fire safety measures or not.
He said that after the survey, the income of the civic body would increase under the building plan approval fee.
“The RTMA recovered Rs31.5 million from the building plan approval fee during the fiscal 2011-12 and planned to increase the amount to Rs34.5 million during current fiscal 2012-13,” he said.
He said that the civic body did not increase the fee but wanted to expand its network and brought all the illegal structure into tax net. “The basic idea to impose fines on those who constructed buildings without approval during the interim setup to complete the task before formation of next government,” he said.
“The regulations also require building owners to maintain all safety fittings, equipment and safety features as well as those items listed as essential safety measures in the developed countries,” he said and added that after the survey, it would be possible for the civic body to implement these laws.
When contacted, Rawal Town Administrator Saif Anwar Jappa admitted that the survey would be started soon. However, he dispelled the impression that the imposing fines would be held in the interim government period during the general elections and said that the work would take three to four months and the imposition of fines would start next year.—A Reporter