SUKKUR: Builders of multi-storey housing projects have resumed construction work while a prohibition order issued by the Sindh High Court’s Sukkur bench a few weeks ago is still in place.

Accelerated construction activity on many of such plots has been witnessed over the last week in this district, especially in Sukkur city, after the builders kept the work suspended in line with the court order.

The court had stopped construction of multi-storey buildings on plots smaller than 400 square yards; those located along narrow lanes and streets; and any project in which a vast parking area has not been spared for allottees of flats. In pursuance of the court’s order, construction work on all such plots had come to a halt.

However, a brisk construction activity on 120-square-yard plots and even smaller ones has been resumed during the last week. Several of these six- to 12-storey plots are located along narrow roads and streets like Miyani Road, Nishtar Road, Shamshabad, Dhak Road, Katti Bazaar, Bandar Road, etc.

The Sindh Building Control Authority laws, rules and regulations also allow construction of such multi-storey buildings only on 400-square-yard or larger plots; and builders/owners are bound to provide a car parking area in their projects. The high court has simply ordered them to strictly adhere to these laws, rules and regulations and the SBCA to ensure compliance.

Resumption of the construction without any relief or relaxation having been provided by the high court so far to the builders/owners has taken residents of these localities by surprise. Some of them contacted by this reporter pointed out that most of the localities in the city where multi-storey buildings were being constructed were already facing population and traffic congestion. Without referring to any specific housing project, they pointed out that construction material being dumped in front of each such site was causing trouble to people as it further narrowed the space for passersby and motorsists. Furthermore, they said, wherever multi-storey buildings in narrow lanes were being constructed, residents of the whole locality faced water supply and drainage issues due to the damage often caused to underground pipelines.

A survey of these localities conducted a couple of days back showed that water supply and drainage systems had suffered considerable damage. The roads and streets were littered with unattended garbage and waste construction material which have aggravated problems of traffic congestion and parking.

The Sukkur Municipal Corporation seems to be indifferent though the civic life in all these localities has badly been affected. Recent rainfall has added to the miseries of the people as rainwater has not been cleared even from main thoroughfares such as Frere Road, Shahi Bazaar, Nishtar Road, Miyani Road, Clock Tower Road and Hussaini Road. Wooden planks and bricks have been put up in front of the main gates of schools and colleges to facilitate student’s entry and exit. Similar arrangements were seen in fronts of many shops, eateries, commercial outlets and offices.

Some builders this reporters spoke claimed that they had obtained permission from the SBCA to resume construction work on their projects. However, they did not produce any such document. They argued that these multi-storey housing projects were beneficial to those who preferred to live within the city over the residential units located on the outskirts.

As of Monday (Oct 4), the SBCA had not intervened to stop the construction activity barred by the high court.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2021

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