THIS is apropos the news about the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) which has allowed building of 10-storey buildings in the city (Dec 22).
The RDA in its 45th governing body meeting has decided to adopt the Lahore Development Authority’s building bye-laws and urban zoning formula for Rawalpindi.
A national urban and transportation development policy should be conceived and developed after consultation with all stakeholders for our ever-expanding urban centres.
We should keep in mind that our population is about 210 million plus (and still growing) and that prime agricultural rural lands are being converted into housing societies and commercial centres. Therefore we need to have vertical residential complexes.
However, the northern zone is in the seismic zone and, unfortunately, small and medium intensity earthquakes are now common. In addition, the public should be aware of poor engineering works and unscrupulous builders.
The recent incident of a building collapse in Karachi and a similar incident involving a commercial building last year in Bahria Town, Lahore, are examples of poor civil work.
My workplace is based in one of Lahore’s high-rise buildings. From my own experience, I see that gas metres have not been installed and no cylinder is allowed in the plaza as safety measure.
Multi-storey complexes must have fire-fighting and fire-prevention equipment along with other services such as a water hydrant and a fire exit in case of an emergency.
All unauthorised structures should be penalised and in case regularisation is deemed necessary owing to the cost and magnitude of work already incurred, it should be done so after imposing a heavy fine. LDA, RDA, CDA, KDA and all such organisations should have trained urban sciences professionals.
Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2020