THIS is with reference to the report “Satellite images confirm ‘tampering’ with E-11 nullah’s route in Islamabad” (July 30). I wonder why we always wait for some disaster to happen before coming up with remedial measures. What happened in Islamabad’s sector E-11, comprising private housing societies as well, was not just a natural calamity. In fact, human negligence, dishonesty and lust for money were the main contributing factors behind the flooding in the national capital after heave rains on July 28.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) had reissued modalities and procedures for the development of private/farm housing schemes in Islamabad on Jan 30 last year. These by-laws clearly defined the regulations for such schemes.

The planning standards of CDA by-laws cover many regulations that ensure the safety of the residents with friendly environment only if they are honestly followed and implemented.

About the parks, the by-laws say that depending on the size of the zone, the open area, including green spaces and parks, is to be kept to a minimum of 10-15 per cent. But in sector E-11 there are no such spaces kept except a small park in E-11/3.

The by-laws also restrict the easement of nullahs etc., and direct that they should be clearly identified and preserved as part of the open spaces. On the contrary, the width and capacity of the nullah that passes through E-11 have been reduced and the natural flow pattern has been severely disturbed.

All these alterations against the by-laws have been done to make space for creating extra residential plots or to construct multi-storied buildings.

In case of private housing societies of E-11, the approval, mainly of the layout plan, and a no-objection certificate to start the construction must have been acquired by some societies, but the monitoring by CDA during and after the completion of various projects seems to have failed miserably.

At a press conference, CDA officials said the culprit housing society had been served a show cause notice, while the CDA had decided to check construction and by-laws of all housing societies.

Why did the CDA wait for the havoc and realise its follies only after the loss of precious lives and property?

Air Cdre (retd) M. Khalid Kamal
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2021

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