ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has started probing the E-11 fiasco during which a woman and her child died after water from the overflowing stream entered into her house as well as several others in July this year.
The CDA, which had approved the narrowing down of the nullah from 40 feet to 18 feet in 2011, itself referred the case to the FIA.
“Yes, we have referred E-11 case to the FIA; the agency is now probing the matter,” CDA spokesperson Syed Asif Raza told Dawn on Friday.
Meanwhile, a CDA officer said the civic authority had also requested a government-owned firm to conduct the hydrological study in E-11. The survey will be carried out to check the flow of water in nullahs in E-11.
The sector remained neglected and unregulated as the CDA never made any serious attempt to implement its bylaws there on the pretext that it was an un-acquired sector. E-11 remained unregulated as it was exempted from land acquisition in 1968 by the then president, Ayub Khan.
On the other hand, as per its ordinance, the CDA is supposed to enforce its bylaws in the entire Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), but the civic authority kept its eyes closed during the last two decades when massive construction took place. The sector has five housing schemes - three illegal - and has seen a mushroom growth of unauthorised high-rise buildings. A large number of houses have also been built on the right of way of natural streams.
However, in August, the federal cabinet authorised the CDA to enforce its bylaws in E-11 and get the hydrological survey conducted.
Following the cabinet’s direction, “we have requested a government-owned firm to conduct the hydrological study while the CDA and ICT administration have started imposing fine on buildings constructed on the right of way of streams,” the officer said.
In 2007, the civic authority had approved the layout plan of the medical society, which was hit by flood in July this year. At that time the width of the nullah was 40ft, but in the ‘ratified’ plan in 2012, the civic authority approved a layout plan with 18ft width of the nullah.
Similarly, around 40 residential and commercial plots have been earmarked in street number 2 of the said society on the bank of the reduced nullah.
Sources said despite a dissenting note, the then member planning approved the ‘ratified’ layout plan, adding that before the matter was sent to the FIA, the CDA chairman got a departmental preliminary inquiry conducted, which pointed out that in the ratified plan, the width of the stream was reduced from 40ft to 18ft.
They said not only was the width of the stream was squeezed in the medical society, several other buildings in E-11 were built on the right of way of the nullahs.
“We will fully implement our bylaws in E-11 as it is unfortunate that this sector has more than 80 high-rise buildings, majority of which are unauthorised,” another CDA officer said.
He said many un-occupied/under-construction high-rise buildings were located in streets and if steps were not taken, in future there will be massive impact on traffic as well.
“Even today the roads in E-11 see huge traffic movement, and in future, if all unoccupied buildings areoccupied, the situation will worsen,” the official added.
Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2021