HYDERABAD: Sindh High Court’s Hyderabad circuit has directed the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) regional director, Hyderabad Development Authority (HDA) director planning and development control and Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) land director and municipal commissioner to appear in person on Jan 28 along with their reports regarding conversion of residential plots to commercial ones and approval for commercial projects.

A division bench comprising Justice Nadeem Akhtar and Justice Arshad Hussain Khan passed the order on a petition filed by a citizen, Mr Muzammil, through Advocate Tahir Nisar Rajput against the conversion.

According to the petitioner, residential plots in Latifabad have been and are still being illegally converted to commercial ones by the respondents. The SBCA has approved building plans and granted permissions for the execution of commercial projects.

The bench noted it appeared that the impugned conversion of residential plots had been made on the basis of Resolution 189, purportedly passed on Oct 30, 2004 by the defunct taluka council of Latifabad.

The petitioner has submitted in court that Resolution 189 empowered the taluka nazim to allow commercialisation of residential plots on main roads although such a decision could not be taken by just 15 councillors through a resolution. As a result, roadside bungalows were converted to plazas and high-rise commercial buildings by “builder mafia” and the TMA in violation of the area’s master plan.

The petitioner stated that the Sindh government had through a notification dated March 2, 2015 restrained municipal authorities from converting status of plots as the powers delegated to councils had been withdrawn.

He pointed out that after the 2015 notification, all NOCs were declared null and void and plots’ original status was restored.

The petitioner asked the court to direct the respondents to demolish all buildings and plazas in Latifabad in the light of the Sindh Local Government Act 2015.

SDA employees’ dues

The same bench directed the Sehwan Development Authority (SDA) to settle dues of SDA employees before Feb 27, failing which salary of senior staff/executives of the authority starting from top should be stopped till all the dues were settled.

The bench directed the Sindh chief secretary and finance secretary to ensure expeditious provision of adequate funds to the SDA for compliance of this order.

The bench also directed the SDA director general to appear before it in person on the next date of hearing, March 4, along with the compliance report.

The order was passed on a joint constitutional petition filed by SDA’s 38 low-paid employees.

The petitioners had submitted in court that it had become a routine that the SDA released their one-month salaries after four/five months. They stated that their 24 months’ salaries were pending with the SDA.

The bench observed that since it was not disputed that the petitioners were SDA’s employees and liability of their outstanding salaries was also admitted, there was no justification for the SDA to withhold their salaries especially when its senior staff and executives had been and were still receiving their salaries on a regular basis.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Militancy redux
Updated 12 Aug, 2022

Militancy redux

There is fear and confusion all around, and it is for the state to bring clarity to the situation.
Distorting history
12 Aug, 2022

Distorting history

WHEN history is co-opted by ideologically overzealous elements, expect the facts to die a quick death, and...
Dengue danger
12 Aug, 2022

Dengue danger

WITH rains continuing across most of the country, a dengue outbreak can quickly become a major headache for health...
Khorasani’s killing
11 Aug, 2022

Khorasani’s killing

OMAR Khalid Khorasani, a dreaded TTP ‘commander’, lived by the sword and very much died by the sword. But beyond...
Gross overreaction
Updated 11 Aug, 2022

Gross overreaction

The government has already done considerable damage to itself with its indelicate handling of the situation.
Dadu deaths
11 Aug, 2022

Dadu deaths

DISEASES that are usually mild and preventable in countries with developed healthcare systems often prove to be...