Greenbelt encroachments: Senators’ help sought for landgrabbers’ eviction

Published: January 26, 2016
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In a letter to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, a number of residents have claimed that illegal construction of multi-storey towers on greenbelts is causing environmental degradation. PHOTOS: FILE

In a letter to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, a number of residents have claimed that illegal construction of multi-storey towers on greenbelts is causing environmental degradation. PHOTOS: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

A number of residents have sought senators’ help to get a vast tract of land currently under adverse possession vacated of real estate developers and land grabbers.

In a letter written to the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, a number of residents of the National Police Foundation, Sector E-11, and others have claimed that illegal construction of multi-storey towers on greenbelts “is causing environmental degradation, which is also tantamount to impinging on rights of the citizens”.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA), meanwhile, has admitted its ‘awful failure’ to vacate hundreds of acres in 11 localities across the capital city, which have been encroached upon by property dealers and private developers, who have undertaken heavy constructions and installations.

These localities include Bani Gala, Quaid-i-Azam University, Bari Imam, Chontra and Siniari villages, sectors E-11, H-13, G-15, C-15 series, C-16, Saidpur Model Village, Jaba Teli (village Pindorian, and different commercial centres.

In a letter written to the Islamabad Chief Commissioner, CDA Director Enforcement Ishrat Taj Warsi has admitted the agency’s failure to vacate the encroached land seeking help from the local administration in this regard.

The letter has been written in the backdrop of a case related to the construction of multi-storey towers by land developers after encroaching greenbelts at Sector E-11 in violation of court’s multiple restraining orders prohibiting any construction activity in different areas without approval from the civic agency.

The residents have also submitted a copy of the original layout plan indicating considerable green tracts eaten up by land developers in a bid to ‘make big and quick money’.

Ghulam Idrees, a retired government officer, who lives in Sector E-11/4, has been confronting a similar situation as an area reserved for greenbelt near his house has been encroached upon by a builder to construct residential apartments named Fortune Empire.

All the constructions in Sector E-11, where one kanal costs between Rs40 million and Rs50 million, continues without obtaining no-objection certificates (NOCs) from the civic agency.

“Not a single, but there exist three judgments of the Islamabad High Court on the issue.  Instead of implementing these judgments forcibly, the CDA has limited its role to mere issuance of notices and warnings to the land mafia,” Idrees said, demanding the National Accountability Bureau to intervene given the helplessness of the civic agency to confront the all-powerful land grabbers.

“The CDA shall forthwith stop all constructions which are being carried out without obtaining NOCs from the competent authority in accordance with law,” says one of three similar judgments of the IHC on the issue of illegal constructions in Sector E-11.

These judgments were passed during last three years on different petitions filed by residents of E-11.

According to the CDA’s website, sector E-11 houses mostly illegal housing projects, including Fortune Empire, Qartaba Heights, Apollo Apartments, Margalla View Heights, Mehran Complex, Shaheen Apartments, Mustafa Heights, Markka Towers.

CDA’s response

When contacted, CDA Spokesperson Ramzan Sajid said that a comprehensive anti-encroachment drive plan has been submitted to the chief commissioner office with the request for providing magisterial cover besides contingents of police and Rangers.

“The CDA has estimated that it will take 10 days to complete the anti-encroachment operation in Sector E-11 once it was launched,” Sajid said adding similar plans have also been made for the rest of 10 sites identified by the CDA director enforcement.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th,  2016.

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