ISLAMABAD: The commission formed by the federal government to revise the master plan of Islamabad has proposed relaxation in rules for setting up housing societies in the capital.
Sources said the commission proposed changes to the ‘rigid’ rules and from now housing schemes could be developed on 200 kanals instead of the earlier 400 kanal minimum requirement.
The commission will present its draft report before the federal cabinet soon. It proposed that the CDA should allow developers to set up housing schemes on 200 kanals subject to fulfillment of planning parameters.
The sources said the commission members at their last meeting held on Oct 4 observed that because of the ‘rigid’ rules housing societies had been avoiding getting no-objection certificates (NOC) from the CDA that resulted into unauthorised construction.
Draft report says minimum requirement of 400 kanals be reduced to 200 kanals
Currently, there are over 100 unauthorised housing schemes in the capital and owners of majority of them have also sold out the land which was initially reserved for green areas, amenities, schools and parks.
The civic agency never took any serious action on time rather in most of the cases kept itself restricted to issuing only ‘notices’ to the violators.
On the other hand, the citizens who purchased plots in housing schemes are now suffering because of the illegal status of the housing schemes. On the recommendations of the CDA, utility companies are also not providing them gas and electricity connections.
Some CDA officials told Dawn that in many housing schemes the owners had been facing shortage of the required 400 kanals and after selling the available plots had left the projects abandoned, causing problems for those who had purchased plots there.
A senior officer of the CDA confirmed to Dawn that from now a housing scheme could be developed on 200 kanals. He, however, said as per the set standards a housing scheme should be developed on 400 kanals. But in those cases where owners do not have 400 kanals, they would be allowed to develop a scheme on 200 kanals. But they will have to leave the amenity land in accordance with the formula of 400 kanals.
“Personally, I support the commission’s decision. Now, the housing schemes have a fair chance of developing societies on 200 kanals as earlier it was practically difficult for them to acquire a 400 kanal compact piece of land in the capital,” he said.
Meanwhile, the commission also recommended one more storey in all commercial centres which are already facing the issue of parking. However, CDA officials said plaza owners who would add a new storey would provide the required parking space.
The sources said the commission, while deciding the fate of unauthorised construction on private land particularly in rural areas, decided that in those areas where construction was permissible the CDA should regulate the buildings after making new bylaws.
The commission also decided to hire a consultant who would carry out a detailed study before recommending the regularisation of unauthorised buildings in non-permissible areas.
In December last year, the federal government had formed the commission of experts to carry out the first ever revision of the master plan within six months.
The commission held many meetings and finalised a draft report a few months ago. But in a surprise move, almost all members of the commission were removed through a summary moved by the CDA planning wing and the commission was reconstituted two months ago.
When contacted, CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali confirmed that the draft report was going to be presented before the cabinet. To a query, he said as per the recommendation of the commission housing schemes could be developed on 200 kanals in case the operators were unable to purchase more land.
He said the commission after holding a series of meetings had proposed several initiatives in accordance with the current needs.
“The final decision would be made by the cabinet,” he said, adding the master plan was developed in 1960 and its revision was supposed to be carried out after every 20 years. However, successive governments did not revise the plan that resulted in the planning issues.
“The commission made recommendations to resolve key issues while a consultant would be hired to make technical changes to the master plan,” he said.
Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2019