CDA allowed narrowing of E-11 drain in Islamabad, document reveals

Published August 3, 2021
CDA continues with its dredging work in a nullah in I-10 on Monday. — White Star
CDA continues with its dredging work in a nullah in I-10 on Monday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: In a new twist, it has been transpired that Capital Development Authority (CDA) itself approved narrowing of the nullah in E-11/2 from 40 feet to 18 feet, which caused urban flooding and the death of a mother and her child.

Sources said that the CDA’s Planning Wing had approved a layout plan of the Pakistan Medical Cooperative Housing Society (PMCHS), in which width of the nullah was reduced down to 18ft in street 2.

Separately, the security directorate of CDA had also conducted a probe, which revealed that CDA had approved the layout plan in 2012; this report is going to be shared with Prime Minister Imran Khan and the federal government.

Security directorate’s inquiry report to be shared with govt

The society also covered the narrowed nullah by building a road and carving commercial and residential plots on both sides of it.

Sources said that a layout plan was approved in 2007, in which the width of the said nullah was 40ft, but in 2012, the society got its layout plan ratified in which the width of the nullah was reduced to 18ft with cover.

The documents seen by Dawn stated that in 2012, Member Planning Aziz Qureshi, Director General (Planning) Ghulam Sarwar Sindhu, Director Ashiq Ali Ghauri, Deputy Director Zafar Iqbal Zafar and then Project Manager Liaqat Mohayuddin Qadri had processed and initiated the layout plan.

However, Deputy Director Zafar Iqbal Zafar in a categorical note highlighted the factual position of the case but it was approved anyway.

He pointed in Para 56 of the case file that the width of street 2 (the same street where two people died due to the recent urban flooding) in the west hill of the road is 30ft out of which 18ft was the right of way of the nullah, which had been partially covered and 16 commercial and 20 residential plots had been planned in this street. He added that in the earlier approved layout plan, there was no street number 2 and width of the nullah was 40ft.

He also mentioned that there were already several court cases in progress regarding reduction of the nullah size.

Through a note in Para 57, he mentioned: “In view of position explained above it is proposed to ask the PMCHS to make the following amendments:

Submit the rectified plan according to ownership of the society i.e 181 kanals or submit ownership documents of entire area of scheme. Amend the layout plan as per provision, modalities and procedure.

Not to allow commercial blocks in 30 feet wide and 18 feet wide street number 2.”

The DG planning, while commenting on this stated: “The para 57/N is just a vicious circle.” He had asked the deputy director, “what is your suggestion in existing position, please discuss!”

However, despite this, the planning wing continued processing the file. The deputy director in Para 71 mentioned that approval of the layout plan shall extend to land measuring 181kanals and two marlas, and the society will submit Aks Shajra and Fard Jamabandi within 30 days of issuance of the Lop approval letter, failing which the approval will be automatically withdrawn.

The deputy director had made it clear that no street will be less than 40ft and submitted the case for “perusal, consideration and further orders.”

Following his noting, Mr Sindhu moved the case to the member for approval of Para 71 and he did.

When contacted, Mr Sindhu said that following recommendations of his subordinate officers, he submitted the case to the member, who approved it.

Talking about his use of the phrase “vicious circle” about para 57, he said that through this comment he wanted to urge the deputy director to explain his position in clear words. He said that the sponsor of the housing scheme also gave a presentation in the member office and the member approved their ratified plan.

When asked about narrowing down the nullah, he said on recommendations of the consultant, who conducted a hydrological study, the width of the nullah was earmarked as 18ft, as according to him consultant used data of previous 100 years. He claimed that recent flooding was not because of the narrowed nullah.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2021

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