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RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) has cancelled planning permission for four housing societies in the district in light of an inquiry report.

The RDA began investigating its officials and private housing societies Blue World, Taj Residencia, Faisal Margalla City and Multi Garden on April 11, on directives of Divisional Commissioner Joudat Ayaz.

RDA’s Metropolitan Planning and Traffic Engineering Director Jamshaid Aftab presented the initial report to the commissioner, who is also the acting director general of the RDA. Mr Ayaz was informed that the housing societies began selling land without submitting their layout plans and obtaining no-objection certificates (NOC) from the RDA.

In light of the findings, the commissioner approved the cancellation of planning permission for the housing societies, which the RDA carried out on Saturday.

RDA spokesperson Hafiz Irfan told Dawn that the housing societies were granted planning permission to submit their layout plans and information on public facilities such as roads, places of worship, graveyards, parks, schools, community centres and so on.

He said housing societies cannot sell residential or commercial plots during the six month planning permission period. However, he said, these societies sold plots and began advertising their societies during this period.

Mr Irfan said the RDA told the public not to invest in housing societies that have not been included in the legal housing societies list on the RDA website.

He said the website was updated with information on legal and illegal housing societies, and people can contact RDA offices as well.

RDA Chairman Arif Abbasi said that all 41 legal housing societies in the district have been asked to note their NOC numbers of sale and purchase forms, or these will be considered illegal.

He said the RDA would soon devise a plan to monitor housing societies in the district, and the RDA’s board of directors will meet soon in this regard.

New standard operating measures will be approved at the board meeting, he added, after a new director general is appointed. Vacant posts will also be filled soon.

Mr Abbasi said Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has asked for the civic body to be made public-friendly, so people can avail facilities easily. He added that the performance of the planning and engineering departments will be improved to bring corruption to an end.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2019