On Wednesday at exactly 10 am, the master plan for the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) City Karachi or DCK was revealed to real estate agents and investors.
The residential project is located 56 kilometres from the city and is being constructed at the cost of one billion dollars. It is spread over 11,640 acres of land and will be self dependent for water and electricity – at least when the first batch of owners build their houses in the next four years.
While referring to the 25,000 plots sold in 2010, DHA Administrator Brig. Aamer Raza Qureshi said that by going public with the master plan, he hoped that the people would start paying up their installments. He added that they still hadn’t received around 30% of them.
The project is expected to attract a total investment of over three billion dollars with hospitals and educational institutions. They plan to run 13 trams and 79 buses for the residents to commute within DCK. They will also construct two theme parks, a hospital, a university, 20 colleges and 40 schools.
While responding to a question about other DHA projects, Qureshi asked people not to compare the other projects with this one. He said that although the new city project looked ambitious, they had learnt their lesson.
The real estate agents were informed that the bylaws would ensure that the houses and apartments were constructed in a way to make most of the ecosystem – for example the roads will be wide and will include a separate lane for cyclists while schools will be located at a walking distance for students.
The size of the plots ranges from 125 sq. yards to 2,000 sq. yards. According to Qureshi, around 22,000 plots will be auctioned in around three to four years while 10,000 plots will be delivered by 2015 – the first phase of the project.
“Till 2020, DCK will meet its water requirement from tube wells,” said Osmani and Company Director Arif Osmani. “Wastewater will be recycled and collected in two artificial lakes which will feed the aquifers.”
Who runs the show
According to the DHA administrator, they had sent a formal request to the government asking them to extend the jurisdiction of the Cantonment Board Clifton. “There is nothing wrong with it,” he said. “The government can do it.” However, he did not mention if the DHA staff would be helping out with the project. He added that people were looking for a safer environment to live in. “It won’t matter if DCK is far away from their offices or schools,” he said. “Give them security and basic facilities – they will shift immediately.”
The mosques, agents and plots
The 11,640 acre project will have five mosques in each sector. Qureshi said that there will be a place for everyone to practice what they believe in. While responding to a question by The Express Tribune, he said that people had a wrong perception about the DHA promoting the Deobandi school of thought. “People who bought plots cannot be forced to start constructing houses immediately,” said Qureshi. “We have a system where the owners will pay non-utilisation charges.”
The president of the Defence and Clifton Real Estate Agents Association, Syed Shahid Aleem, said that the rental rate of an apartment or house at DCK will be around 75% of the real value of the property. He added that it was most likely to increase.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2011.