Islamabad master plan revision body restarts work after 18 months today

Published August 30, 2021
A commission formed by the federal cabinet for the revision of Islamabad’s master plan is going to meet on Monday (today) to discuss measures for the speedy completion of the task. — INP/File
A commission formed by the federal cabinet for the revision of Islamabad’s master plan is going to meet on Monday (today) to discuss measures for the speedy completion of the task. — INP/File

ISLAMABAD: After a gap of around 18 months, a commission formed by the federal cabinet for the revision of Islamabad’s master plan is going to meet on Monday (today) to discuss measures for the speedy completion of the task.

The commission was formed in 2018 to revise the master plan.

However, after preparing an interim report in October 2019, it left the revision to a professional consultant firm, which is yet to be hired.

Recently, the federal cabinet reconstituted the commission by making retired Maj Gen Farrakh Javed as its head and adding two new members - architects Murad Jamali and Sikandar Ajam.

Earlier, the commission had 12 members but two of them were removed by the cabinet recently.

“Yes, we are going to meet on Monday to discuss issues of the city. It will be some sort of an introductory meeting as the new head and members will get input from other members and CDA officials about the issues of the city,” said a member of the commission.

Unplanned construction, water shortage and illegal housing main issues of city, says official

Speaking to Dawn, he said the issues of Zone IV and Zone III in particular would be discussed by the commission.

The member said the engagement of a consultant firm saw a delay due to technical reasons as in response to an invitation in national and international press the commission could not get a response from a reputed firm in accordance with the terms and reference mentioned in the bid invitation.

He said now the reconstituted commission would hire the consultant as soon as possible and finalise the revision within a year.

Another member said the reconstituted commission was empowered to directly hire the consultant firm and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) would provide it the required fund.

The earlier formed commission had prepared an interim report mainly related to commercial buildings and houses in certain areas, including Banigala, besides identification of several other issues such as water shortage, transportation.

The interim report was approved by the cabinet in November 2019.

But the commission left the proper revision of the master plan to the consultant firm.

Islamabad’s master plan prepared in 1960 by a Greek firm was supposed to be revised after every 20 years but except 43 selected changes no revision was made that resulted in planning issues leading to the unregulated growth of buildings in many parts of the capital.

Background discussion with CDA officials and other stakeholders showed several important issues being confronted by the city that needed intervention by the commission.

These included changes in zoning regulations to promote planned construction.

They said as per the master plan, the CDA was supposed to acquire all land in Zone I to develop planned sectors.

By the 1980s, the civic agency was supposed to develop sectors up to GT Road but still there are nine un-acquired sectors, including H-13, D-14, E-14, H-14 and in this zone.

The CDA did not acquire land that led to the mushroom growth of unplanned construction.

Moreover, un-acquired and private land in Zone III also witnessed mushroom growth of unplanned construction as the CDA never made any attempt to acquire the private land in this zone.

An official said technically acquiring more land would create more problems; therefore, the commission should introduce new bylaws to regulate these two zones to promote planned construction.

The official said sectors like F-13, D-13, C-13, H-16, C-16, I-17 and H-16, which were acquired in 2008, are yet to be taken over by the CDA as it has failed to clear dues of the landowners.

“Under these circumstances, how can we go for more land acquisition? So new acquisition is not a solution,” he said and added that the track record of the civic agency in development of sectors was also not worth discussing. Those who purchased plots in E-12 from the CDA in 1989 are still waiting to get possession of their developed plots.

The official said the issue of housing societies was also a chronic one as there were over 100 illegal housing schemes in the city.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2021

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