Builders, dwellers in a fix over ban on housing societies in KP

Published March 8, 2021
A complex situation has emerged for thousands of dwellers of 181 private housing societies and their builders since government has barred them from all sorts of developmental activities and mutation for not getting no-objection certificates from Peshawar Development Authority (PDA). — File photo
A complex situation has emerged for thousands of dwellers of 181 private housing societies and their builders since government has barred them from all sorts of developmental activities and mutation for not getting no-objection certificates from Peshawar Development Authority (PDA). — File photo

PESHAWAR: Complex situation has emerged for thousands of dwellers of 181 private housing societies and their builders since government has barred them from all sorts of developmental activities and mutation for not getting no-objection certificates from Peshawar Development Authority (PDA).

On January 27, the district administration first banned 181 private housing societies in the provincial capital for functioning in violation of the prescribe rules of PDA and then registered FIRs against them.

Some officials in PDA told Dawn that the private housing societies were bound to get NOC under Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government (Sites Development Schemes) Rules, 2005 before launching a scheme of a housing society. Of the 181 banned private housing societies, 123 are situated in Shah Alamtehsil , 25 in Citytehsil , 24 in Saddar tehsil and nine are located in Mattani tehsil.

Talking about the ordeal of the developers and residents of the banned societies, KP Towns Owners Association president Iftikhar Ahmed told Dawn that government should find a solution to the issue as a lot of jobs and businesses were attached with the development activities in the housing societies.

Official says authorities are trying to find a solution to the issue

He demanded of the government to withdraw FIRs registered against the societies immediately and reopen their sealed offices. He said that majority of the private housing schemes, banned by PDA over a month ago, had already been completed since long and implementation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government (Sites Development Schemes) Rules, 2005 was impossible now.

Beside other pre-requisite for the new schemes, according to the rules, the width of access road should not less than 33 feet and minimum area of the scheme is not less than 160 kanals. “How the builders will increase the width of the access road to 33 feet from the present 20 feet and minimum area to the required 160 kanals if the housing scheme has been established over 50 kanals,” said builders.

They said that majority of their schemes were completed on the lands much lesser than the required minimum criteria of 160 kanals. Under the rules, other prerequisites for the establishment of new housing scheme include specifying seven per cent of the total scheme for open space or parks, two per cent for graveyard and five per cent for commercial area.

The builders said that those prerequisites could be met by the new or ongoing schemes but the same could not be applied on the completed schemes.

The residents of the banned housing societies said why the authorities at the helm of affairs were silent when the schemes were launched without getting proper NOCs. They said that provision of electricity by Pesco and gas by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines raised a question mark. “How they provided electricity and gas when the builders have not gotten NOCs,” they questioned.Iftikhar Ahmed demanded of the government to make easy the process of issuance of an NOC process by setting up one window operation at PDA office. He said that currently many departments were involved in issuance of NOC. The new rules drafted in 2017 must be revised with the consultation of town owners association, he added.

An official, when contacted, said that the issue of banning of housing schemes in Peshawar was recently discussed in a high level meeting among the prime minister, chief secretary, additional chief secretary and high-ups of PDA. The local government department and PDA have been working on it for a solution as many residents and builders are approaching PDA on daily basis.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2021

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