ISLAMABAD: The city managers have decided to start a process for the first ever comprehensive revision of Islamabad’s master plan to cope with changing requirements and make it relevant to the present needs.
A Greek firm, Doxiadis, prepared the master plan in 1960 with the suggestion for its revision after every 20 years. However, successive governments never revised it which resulted in a lack of civic planning in the city.
But from time to time, some “selected” changes were made to the document, such as permitting housing schemes in Zone IV apparently to provide benefit to those who owned vast chunks of land there.
Except for some minor changes, the master plan has never been revised since 1960
The CDA board is all set to take up a summary on Wednesday seeking approval for hiring a consultant to revise the master plan for year 2020-40.
“On Wednesday (today), the board will decide about hiring of the consultant and after its approval the consultant will start the process of proposing changes to the master plan,” Member Planning Asad Mehboob Kayani told Dawn.
He said the consultant would propose changes which would be made after holding a public hearing and taking consent of environmentalists. The CDA will then forward the proposed changes to the federal cabinet for final approval. “The entire exercise could take two years,” he said.
The master plan gives a broad outline of overall development.
The summary, which the board is going to take up, states: “In the master plan it was envisaged that its revision would be made necessary after 20 years commensurate with the changed physical and socio-economic conditions and resultant needs of future.”
The CDA had started revisions of the master plan in 1986 and 2005 but could not get it approved from the federal government.
“With the passage of time, CDA made a number of changes to the master plan but efforts for a comprehensive revision could not be materialised,” according to the summary.
The Islamabad Capital Territory Zoning Regulation was promulgated in 1992 under which the capital was divided into five zones with the approval of the federal government. Later, further amendments were made in 2010 while a number of individual changes were also introduced.
Through the selected revisions in the past the successive governments made changes to the master plan without proposing alternatives. For example, if an industrial sector was converted into a residential one, the government should have proposed a new industrial sector as an alternative.
A CDA official said according to the master plan the entire I-8 was to serve as a centre for transport services but it was turned into a residential sector in 1990 without reserving any space for the transport sector.
The other changes made to the master plan included shifting of the zoo-cum-botanical garden from its original site in the southwest of Rawal Lake to the Banigala reserved forest and the conversion of F-9 from a residential sector into to a park.
E-11, which was meant for an ordinary residential sector, was turned into a private and government housing area. Changes were also made to H sectors as the upper half of the area was designated as a green buffer and the lower half reserved for special institutions. The upper halves of H-8 and H-9 were allocated for institutions while H-9 was converted into an orchard and H-10 and H-12 reserved for universities.
CDA officials also said the original alignment of Kashmir Highway was changed from north of H series and shifted further towards north in the sector area and G series. The civic agency also changed I-15 and I-16 from industrial to residential sectors in 1992.
In 1992, the government changed the use of Zone II and Zone V, shifting them from the rural periphery to new residential, institutional and industrial series.
Similarly, the federal cabinet in 2010 changed the use of national park institutional area - Zone IV - to farming, housing and institutional area, apparently to facilitate owners of some housing societies.
The officials also said according to the master plan, Islamabad had 906 square km area but in 1981 several new mozas (revenue estates) were added to the capital while some mozas were excluded.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2018