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ISLAMABAD: There are 67 illegal marquees and wedding halls operating in various parts of the capital, a survey by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has found.

The authority has proposed new rules and regulations for approval to run such businesses, under which owners of illegal establishments of this kind would be given 90 days to meet CDA regulations, otherwise the unauthorised buildings would be demolished.

Marquees and wedding halls have become popular over the last decade, which is why several such establishments have opened in the capital without the CDA’s approval. The CDA, in turn, has only recently begun paying attention to the matter.

The CDA swung into action after Monday – when the Supreme Court directed it to submit a report of all the unauthorised and authorised marquees and wedding and event halls in the city – and conducted a survey in this regard.

Proposed regulations mandate dedicated parking, specify minimum land requirements

According to CDA documents, there are 12 marquees in E-11, two in H-13, six in G-12 and 20 along the Islamabad Expressway. A number of wedding halls and marquees have also opened on Lehtrar Road and in Bhara Kahu.

The document states that the majority of these facilities do not have parking space for visitors.

The survey found 67 marquees and halls in various parts of the capital that were running without the CDA’s approval, Building Control Director Faisal Naeem said. He added that the survey was undertaken on SC directives.

He said three wedding halls – one in G-6 and two on Club Road – have some sort of approval, but the 67 identified by the survey are “illegal”.

CDA’s planning wing has finalised new parameters for such establishments, and CDA documents state that wedding and event halls seeking approval must be spread over four kanals.

Halls will be permitted lower ground, ground plus one storey and ground plus two storeys, while the basement would only be used for parking and there must be one parking space for every 250 sq ft of covered area.

A minimum of eight kanals is required to set up marquees according to the proposed parameters, and owners will have to provide 70pc of the total area for parking and circulation.

CDA officials said applicants would have to pay the scrutiny fee, the land use conversion fee and regularisation charges.

Officials Dawn spoke to said the authority would present its survey findings, and if needed the planning parameters and 90-day action plan, before the SC.

“If the court does not object to our planning parameters and action plan, then we will launch am operation against the illegal facilities,” said a planning wing official.

He said: “These marquees and halls do not have our approval, which include fire and safety equipment, parking, ventilation etc. In case any mishap takes place in an unapproved hall, the CDA will be held responsible. I do agree that there was negligence on our part, but now we are going to resolve this issue.”

The official said unplanned marquees and halls that do not have the required parking space also disrupt traffic.

“In E-11, there is a serious parking issue because of unauthorised marquees, while the service road along Islamabad Highway and main Murree Road in Bhara Kahu are badly affected because of the large number of marriage halls, which do not have proper parking,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2018