RAWALPINDI: Though the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA) adopted its new building by-laws last year, it has failed to stop illegal construction and mushroom growth of housing societies in the district.
A senior official blamed the metropolitan planning and traffic engineering branch of the RDA for its failure to keep a check on developers responsible for the disorderly growth of housing schemes across the city. The said branch was “not active”, he added.
“It is the duty of the civic body to develop a model housing society and ask private developers to imitate the said replica, but the RDA failed to develop such a scheme over the past 34 years,” the official said, adding that the civic body was still “busy in collecting fees from the developers” and give approval to new schemes without any check and balance.
He said that the RDA has notified only 62 housing societies in the city areas, but interestingly, these societies have failed to fulfill the standard operating procedures to launch their housing projects.
Official says new societies being approved without due diligence, only 62 schemes notified
Under the law, he said that the housing societies must provide water supply, sewerage system, graveyard, school and college, and public parks within their limits.
“The land of these public facilities is supposed to be transferred to the government,” he said, adding that at least 15 housing schemes sold the plots meant for these public welfare projects.
In 2018, the RDA found more than 15 housing societies in Rawalpindi sold their plots, but no action has been taken against them so far, the official added. He said that it was the duty of the civic body to ensure a green area between the urban and rural areas, but the mushroom growth of housing societies not only vanished the green area around the city but also squeezed the right of way of Soan River.
He said the RDA needed to put its own house in order in order to launch a crackdown on illegal housing schemes. According to the official, “The civic body issued notices to the unauthorised housing societies, but no solid action has been taken against them.”
Speaking about a master plan for the city, he said that there was a need to prepare a blueprint for the city at the district level to stop the growth of illegal housing schemes.
He said that in the past, the provincial governments failed to work in this regard, resulting in the rise of illegal housing societies. When contacted, RDA spokesman Hafiz Irfan said that the RDA was working to control the illegal housing societies, and in this regard, it has uploaded a list of “legal and illegal housing societies on its website”.
He said that only 69 housing societies in Rawalpindi were legal while the rest were not given an NOC to launch the projects. He claimed said that RDA teams were working to check illegal housing schemes in and around Rawalpindi city so that an action could be taken in this regard.
About the master plan, he said that the RDA was working on it and it would be “completed soon” and added that a consultant has been hired which was working on four tehsils of Pindi in the first phase.
Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2023
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