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KARACHI: The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) on Friday demolished nearly half a dozen multistorey structures in different residential areas of the city, which the regulatory body said were raised illegally and also vowed to take action against its 18 officials who facilitated the unlawful activity in their areas.

The SBCA took action in Federal B Area, Saddar and Jamshed Town where it spotted nearly five multistorey buildings which were raised against the defined laws. The authority with labourers, heavy machinery and backed by heavy contingent of law enforcement agencies, removed the illegal floors of the buildings, which were either sold or rented out by landlords.

“The action is part of our drive against illegal structure across the city,” said SBCA director General Iftikhar Ahmed Kaimkhani. “In today’s action we demolished two such structures in Gulberg and as many in Jamshed Town. Illegally-raised floors on a building in Saddar area were also demolished. The drive will continue across the city and you would see more structures which have violated the building bylaws meeting the same fate.”

The SBCA in April imposed a ban on construction of a second floor on a residential plot bigger than 120 square yards. Prior to the ban, ground-plus-two floors were allowed to be constructed on a residential plot bigger than 120 square yards, but now it had been banned and only ground-plus-one floor could be constructed on a residential plot bigger than 120 square yards.

Only on Thursday, the authority had sealed off part of a supermarket located along Rashid Minhas Road for violating its approved building plan by using its basement for commercial activity instead of parking for more than a year after it became operational.

Despite recent actions and aggressive campaigns by the SBCA against illegal constructions in the city, question remains about the role of the regulatory body and its high-ups who are commonly blamed for deliberately ignoring the unlawful business thriving for past many years.

Karachiites believe that construction of illegal structures and raising multistorey buildings is not possible without the connivance of the SBCA and its officials.

This time, though, the SBCA chief vowed that a list of officials had also been prepared who were found supporting the illegal business one way or the other.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018