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ISLAMABAD: The city managers are considering ways and means to resolve one of the chronic issues of the capital - unauthorised construction in E-11 – to safeguard investments made by the citizens.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA), which left the sector unregulated for decades, is now contemplating taking steps to regulate those buildings which meet the criteria.

The civic agency’s negligence resulted in the construction of a large number of high-rises whose operators sold out apartments and flats to the citizens. However, last year after being censured by courts the CDA swung into action and sealed scores of under-construction buildings.

A case related to the unauthorised buildings is being heard by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). The city managers will submit a report to the court on Tuesday.

The report (copy available with Dawn) stated: “All buildings which meet criteria under Zoning Control Policy 2007 could be regularised subject to submission of requisite documents and with fee, charges and penalties. However, there are certain buildings which do not fulfil the existing criteria. For such buildings, a proposal is being contemplated in the planning wing.”

All buildings that meet criteria may be regularised subject to submission of requisite documents, charges and penalties, says report

It is being considered that such buildings could be regularised subject to submission of traffic impact study and execution of remedial improvement measures by the builders/sponsors.

New construction in E-11 will also be subject to environmental clearance by Pak-EPA and hydrological studies for sustainable water supply to the projects. The report also stated that the CDA would lay a trunk sewer system for disposal of sewage and the builders would be bound to pay their share in the establishment of the sewage treatment plant. However, till the time the trunk sewer system is put in place the builders will be required to arrange their own septic systems.

“We will submit the report to the IHC on Tuesday,” Member Planning Asad Mehboob Kayani told Dawn.

He said those buildings which did not meet the criteria cannot be regularised. He said the civic agency was of the view that the third-party right in many projects had been established as common people had invested in these projects.

“But we can’t compromise on safety standards. Buildings that are established without fulfilling criteria such as congested access roads will not be considered.”

He said options were being explored to save the investment of the citizens.

There are over 80 unauthorised buildings in the sector but the CDA had sealed only 40 of them last year.

The owners of 22 of the sealed buildings got the structures de-sealed on their own, making a mockery of the law.

“An FIR has been registered against over 20 builders who broke the CDA seal. We are also planning to demolish those buildings which have congested access roads,” said Director Building Control Shafi Marwat.

On the other hand, the developers say they had invested billions of rupees in the buildings but during their construction the CDA never stopped them. Now, all of a sudden, the civic agency has come into action.

Some developers said the CDA never stopped the construction work in the sector and even some of its officers provided them “consultation” stating that the area was an exempted one.

E-11 is the only sector in Zone-1 which had been exempted from acquisition due to presence of Golra village and the Golra shrine.

The area never was exempted from the imposition of building by-laws but the CDA officials in their “self-interpreted” definition never made any serious attempts to enforce building bylaws there until 2017 that resulted in the mushroom growth of the haphazard construction of high-rises.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2018