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ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has asked the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) to form a commission to revise the capital’s master plan.

Sources said the CDA’s planning wing recently wrote to CADD, asking it to form a commission that could recommend changes to the master plan. The authority’s spokesperson confirmed that the CDA made the request in a letter a few days following a court order.

The CDA is looking to the new government to revise the outdated plan for the city and address issues such as haphazard construction, water scarcity and the regularisation of hundreds of buildings in acquired and un-acquired areas.

Authority looking to new govt to take up revision of outdated plan to address haphazard construction, water scarcity

CDA officials Dawn spoke to said a committee has also been formed to finalise the terms of reference (TOR) as to the lines under which the 58-year-old plan can be improved.

A few months ago, the CDA board had approved a summary seeking approval to hire a consultant to revise the master plan for 2020 to 2040.

“The commission and a consultant are two different things. The commission is supposed to recommend changes, while the consultant will revise the master plan technically, in light of the commission’s recommendations,” a CDA official explained.

Under the supervision of former member planning Asad Kayani, who retired last week, the CDA team had already done a lot of work on the revision of the master plan. It now depends on how much interest the new government will take on this matter.

Officials said once the new government is formed and the management of the CDA changed, the matter of revision the plan will be placed before them.

Presently, the CDA is said to helpless in the face of the proliferation of unauthorised construction in the outskirts and even sectoral areas of the capital, such as Bhara Kahu, G-12, F-12, E-12, E-13 and D-13.

There are also no rules regarding how the CDA can regularise commercial buildings along new highways such as the Islamabad Expressway, Kashmir Highway, Lehtrar Road and so on.

The master plan was first designed by a Greek firm, Doxiadis, in 1960 with the suggestion that it be revised every 20 years. But the failure of successive governments to revise the plan resulted in a lack of civic planning for the city, although slight changes were proposed by a local firm.

In 2008, an inter-ministerial committee of the federal cabinet approved the revision of the master plan but failed to implement its decision. The committee had consisted of former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, former labour minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, former Railways minister Sheikh Rashid and former housing minister Syed Safwanullah.

The committee had recommended regularising unplanned construction in zones III and IV, which include Bhara Kahu and Banigala, but not allowing any further construction there. The boundaries of zones III, IV and V were also to be defined to prevent people from expanding settlements in Simly, Bhara Kahu, Banigala and Chak Shahzad.

A park had also been proposed in the entirety of E-14, on the pattern of Fatima Jinnah Park, to improve the environment of and recreational activities in the capital.

The relocation of a mass transit plan that consisted of a rail track passing through many sectors in Zone II away from residential sectors was also proposed.

Other amendments to the master plan included the construction of an education city in H-16, an engineering university and new roads in Zone IV, an IT park in I-12 and a central jail.

Under the Islamabad Capital Territory Zoning Regulations promulgated in 1992, the capital was divided into five zones with the federal government’s approval. Further amendments were made in 2010 and a number of individual changes were also introduced.

Changes proposed for the master plan had included shifting the zoo and botanical garden from its original site southwest of Rawal Lake to the reserved forest area in Banigala, and the conversion of F-9 from a residential sector to a park.

Similarly, in 2010 the federal cabinet changed the use of the national park institutional area in Zone VI to a farming, housing and institutional area, apparently to facilitate the owners of housing societies.

Officials said that according to the master plan, Islamabad in 1981 had an area of 906 square kilometres, and several new revenue estates, known as mozas, have been added to the capital since then while some have been excluded.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2018