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Pakistan facing shortage of 11m homes, says minister

Updated July 19, 2019

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Pakistan is facing a shortage of 11 million homes, the minister for housing and works told a Senate standing committee on Thursday. — AFP/File
Pakistan is facing a shortage of 11 million homes, the minister for housing and works told a Senate standing committee on Thursday. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is facing a shortage of 11 million homes, the minister for housing and works told a Senate standing committee on Thursday.

During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works, Housing Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema said the government is working to execute the Naya Pakistan Housing project to construct five million homes on directions from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Mr Bashir said the prime minister inaugurated a project to build 1,350 houses in Balochistan this year, for which the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority has received 7,000 applications.

Senate committee briefed on Naya Pakistan Housing project

He said the PC-I for the project is being prepared and balloting will be held on July 29. Another housing project is being launched in Gwadar, for which 200 acres have been handed over to the housing authority.

The committee was told that six thousand houses will be built in Azad Jammu and Kashmir as well, for which 800 kanals in Mirpur and 120 kanals in Muzaffarabad have been acquired.

The minister said the housing project will promote 42 allied industries and generate job opportunities. Housing units will also be constructed in Punjab and Islamabad under the project.

Bhara Kahu Housing Scheme

The Senate meeting also discussed the Bhara Kahu housing scheme, which was launched by the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF), a subsidiary of the housing ministry, in 2009 but which has not yet been developed.

The minister said an inquiry is needed to determine who is responsible for the delay in the project.

The committee also expressed concern about the delay in developing G-14, and senators were told a significant amount of funding is required to develop the sector while the housing foundation, because of the objections by the Capital Development Authority, is unable to sell commercial areas to develop sector.

Mr Cheema said the delay should be referred to the National Accountability Bureau.

The committee decided it would discuss both issues again at its next meeting.

Land acquisition in Tamma, Mohriyan

The committee also took up forcible land acquisition in mozahs Tamma and Mohriyan in Islamabad, which was raised by Senator Kalsoom Parveen in the Senate last year and referred to the committee.

The committee was told that it was decided that land would be acquired for Rs1.5 million per kanal in Mohriyan and Rs3m in Tamma, but locals said the land is worth Rs10m per kanal. The committee was told that locals have demanded that they be paid a reasonable price for their land.

Housing ministry officials said that the matter is in the Supreme Couty and the issue will be resolved in accordance with the court’s judgement.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2019