After decades of negligence, development of four sectors under way

Published May 16, 2021
Development work underway in I-15 sector. — Photo by Mohammad Asim
Development work underway in I-15 sector. — Photo by Mohammad Asim

ISLAMABAD:The negligence of Capital Development Authority (CDA) towards its key function of sector development, over the years since its formation in 1960, has resulted into shortage of affordable housing units for residents and mushroom growth of unauthorised construction in the city.

However, now after decades, the civic agency has started development work in four sectors, which will be completed after two years.

CDA officials Dawn spoke to said that the authority, as per recommendations of the creator of Islamabad’s master plan, was supposed to develop residential sectors up till G.T. Road by 1980, but CDA could not move beyond F-11 and I-14 while several other sectors were stalled. “I have been living in Bhara Kahu for the last 10 years, as I could not afford rent in CDA’s sectors. Daily, I travel from Bhara Kahu to G-9 for my work,” said Abid Ali, a businessman.

He said that available housing units in CDA’s sectors are out of range for middle and lower middle class, adding: “A single portion house measuring 25x50 or 30x70 in a CDA sector is being rented at more than Rs40,000 per month, so tell us how the middle class can afford it.”

CDA’s sectors E-12, C-13, C-14, C-15, C-16, H-16, I-17, F-13, E-13, D-13, 1-12, E-12, Kurri and Rehara are yet to be developed.When contacted, CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed agreed that the civic agency had not done its job of developing new sectors for decades. However, he said he successfully launched development work in several sectors, whose development will be completed in the next two years and will provide approximately 23,000 new housing units to people.

“In just one and a half years’ time, we started development works in four sectors.Developing a sector is not a big task for the civic agency but unfortunately in the past, the CDA did not pay any heed towards this serious issue that resulted in shortage of housing units,” he said and added that after two years 23,000 new developed plots/housing units will be added to the available housing stock of the city and this step will bring relief for middle and lower middle classes as well.

Meanwhile, a CDA board member said that currently development in E-12 (work on which had been delayed since 1989), I-15 and Park Enclave-II is in full swing while a contract will be awarded for development in I-12 and Park Enclave-III soon after Eid.

“We have completed leftover development of Park Enclave-I, and work in three sectors (E-12, C-15 and Park Enclave-II) is being continued while documentation has been completed before awarding the contract for development of sector I-12 and Park Enclave-III,” he added.

When asked about other stalled sectors, he said: “Frankly speaking, what we have done, others could not do for the last four decades. We have started development work in four sectors so current management should be appreciated for this achievement. As far as development of other stalled sectors, let me say this, we will start development work in all stalled sectors in the next two years.”

Most of the remaining stalled sectors are land sharing sectors, under which locals provide CDA four kanals of raw land and CDA provides them with a one kanal developed plot, so there is no possession of land issue except in Kurri, he said, adding:“Sectors face delay in development mainly due to issues related to land possession. So we have no such issue in land sharing sectors and locals are keen to see the start of development work and they are cooperating with us so we will start development of other sectors too.”

The authority’s chairman has directed that there will be no more land acquisition anywhere in Islamabad until development in stalled sectors is complete, the board member said, addingit has also been decided that the CDA will announce both awards - land award and built up property (BuP) award on the same day - to avoid encroachment on CDA land.

He said that in most cases, CDA failed to start development just because of adverse possession of its land, as the civic agency announced BuP award decades after announcing land award.

It is relevant to note here that Islamabad is a fast growing city with a population of over 2 million; over 100 legal and illegal housing societies have also cropped up in Islamabad while its rural areas have also witnessed a mushroom growth of development to meet the demand of affordable housing units.Sharing brief details of all stalled sectors, an official of CDA said sector C-13 was announced in 2008 and it is spread over 745 kanals and seven marlas. Development of the sector is facing a delay due to pending allotment against land sharing and acquisition of the built-up property (BuP). Its layout plan is also yet to be prepared.

Land award of sector C-14 (1,550 kanals) and C-15 (3,261 kanals) was announced in 2008 but so far the civic agency could not complete the process of allotting plots to locals against their land and BuP claims whereas C-16, D-13, E-13 and F-13, whose land awards were announced in 2008, are also facing several issues such as incomplete allotments against land sharing and BuP acquisition. Land awards for H-16, I-17 were announced in 2009 but so far the civic agency has not completed the process of paying compensation to the locals.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2021

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