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ISLAMABAD: After expressing displeasure regarding the way the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is handling housing societies in the federal capital, a Senate panel on Friday directed the civic authority to address the problems of the people who have invested in legal or illegal housing societies.

A subcommittee of the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat met at Parliament House with Senator Kalsoom Parveen in the chair to discuss the CDA’s proposals and regulations regarding the regularising of housing societies.

There are over 100 illegal housing schemes in the capital, which were allegedly developed with the collusion of CDA officers.

The Senate panel consisting of two members, senators Kalsoom Parveen and Saifullah Bangash, said that as per the directions of another subcommittee, also chaired by Senator Parveen, the civic agency was bound to move a summary to the Cabinet to get approval for allowing private housing schemes in sub-zone C of Zone-IV of the capital.

Private housings societies are not allowed in this sub-zone but there is a provision for government-run housing schemes but some private housing societies, including Bahria Enclave, have been launched here. The earlier sub-committee had therefore directed the CDA to get approval from the Cabinet to allow and regulate the schemes which were developed in accordance with CDA’s rules and regulations.

During the meeting on Friday, CDA Member Planning Asad Mehboob Kayani said the summary has been prepared and will be forwarded to the Capital Administration and Development Division for onward submission to Cabinet after the appointment of a new chairman for the civic authority.

Senator Parveen said CDA did not take action when the illegal housing societies were being developed and when citizens made investments in them and started living in such schemes across Islamabad, the civic agency swung into action and directed Sui Northern Gas Pipelines and the Islamabad Electric Supply Company to not issue utility connections to them. She directed the CDA to furnish a written reply by the next meeting to explain under which law it banned the construction of houses on private land without no-objection certificates.

The committee convener also sought a complete briefing and a report on Islamabad’s boundaries, saying that as per the original plan, Islamabad was to be expanded up to Jhelum, Haripur, Attock and Murree but the city was limited to a certain area when it was designated the capital of the country.

The convenor also asked the CDA to brief the committee in the next meeting about the laws under which it allocated acres of land to educational institutions.

The CDA management was also told to submit details of all the decisions taken by former CDA Chairman Sheikh Anser Aziz, whose appointment was recently declared illegal by the Islamabad High Court.

The committee also expressed concern that the two major hospitals, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences and Polyclinic, have not yet been expanded. Senator Parveen said both hospitals are overcrowded and there is also need for opening new hospitals.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2018