ISLAMABAD: The committee tasked to revise the by-laws of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to promote high-rise buildings in the capital held its first meeting on Monday, discussing various proposals to woo investors.

The meeting was presided over by CDA Member Engineering Dr Muhammad Khalid Hafiz and attended by director generals of planning, building and housing control, and officials of the finance and estate wings.

The meeting discussed various proposals and it was decided that a new policy would be formulated soon, which would be presented before the CDA board for approval.

On April 5, the director general of the building and housing control wing notified a six-member committee to be headed by the CDA member engineering.

The committee headed by the member engineering is tasked to review and propose amendments to the existing parameters, FAR (floor area ratio) for commercial buildings if deemed appropriate, review existing payment plans and procedures for auctioned plots, and suggest business-friendly measures in line with the policies adopted by other cities, such as Karachi and Lahore.

Insiders claim amendments in payment plan, floor area ratio for commercial plots on the cards

According to sources, the meeting held on Monday discussed various issues. As per the existing by-laws, the maximum allowed FAR is 1:10 for plots over 5000 square yards.

The participants were of the view that instead of the entire city, FAR should be increased in selective areas of the federal capital. Similarly, to make the commercial plots lucrative to investor, it also mulled increasing the payment plan from one year to three years.

“Yes, various proposals came under discussion today; we discussed the future needs of the city, its available infrastructure, and resources. We also discussed that if 1:17 FAR is allowed across Islamabad, then what will be the status of traffic management and utilities, such as water,” said a source. They added there should be some difference in the by-laws of Islamabad: the capital city and other cities.

The meeting did not reach a decision and proposals are likely to be finalised in the next sitting. It is relevant to note here after getting a lacklustre response in its auction of commercial plots in recent years, the CDA management had in principle decided to bring major policy changes to promote development and business activity as well as the high-rise buildings.

Sources said the government and the CDA management were planning to increase the payment plan for commercial plots from one year to three years. It is also planning to increase the floor area ratio to 1:16.

Similarly, there is also a proposal to give possession to developers after getting 50 per cent payment, instead of 100 per cent. Sources said that during the last two years, the CDA could not attract investors during the auction of commercial plots. In contrast, the central business district in Lahore has been an attractive opportunity for investors across Pakistan, including Islamabad.

In light of such policy measures, the investors are moving to Lahore from Islamabad, claimed sources.

Former president of Islamabad Developer Association Chaudhry Naseer Ahmed told Dawn that the developers had been advocating changes to the CDA by-laws for years to make them investor-friendly.

Meanwhile, Real Estate Association President Sardar Tahir Mehmood said that his association had been asking the CDA to amend the by-laws for the past six months at least. “We also wrote a letter on March 20 in this regard,” he said, urging the CDA to do the needful.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2024

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