ISLAMABAD: A panel of parliamentarians has concluded that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is always late when taking action against irregularities. Moreover, when the civic body does swing into action, it only causes loss to the public.
The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat recently recommended that the CDA take action against violations of its by-laws pertaining to construction beforehand since action after the construction is completed “is only loss to the public not to construction companies.”
The observations came after CDA’s estate member briefed the committee that the CDA had taken notice of by-law violations by the Centaurus Shopping Mall, Safa Gold Mall and Grand Hyatt Hotel.
He submitted the information before the committee in line with a question asked by Senator Azam Khan Swati seeking “details of cases and violation of CDA by-laws by various shopping malls and hotels in Islamabad over the past two years [sic]”. Separately, the CDA recently admitted before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that over 400 unauthorised construction activities were taking place in the capital.
The confession of the civic body in the court revealed that 403 code violations had been detected in sectors F-6, F-7, F-8, F-10, F-11, G-6, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-11, I-8, I-9 and I-10 of the capital. Moreover, 214 violations were discovered in F series sectors, 129 in G series sectors and 60 in I series sectors.
To add insult to injury, these violations are in addition to the around 109 housing societies which had already been declared as “illegal” by the CDA.
In the standing committee’s meeting, the member estate said that a deputy commissioner of CDA had issued a notice to and imposed a fine on the Centaurus Shopping Mall while Safa Gold Mall was sealed and resealed on IHC’s orders.
He added that the malls had rectified some of the issues but the matter was still subjudice.
Moreover, the member said that in the case of the building on One Constitution Avenue meant for a hotel, had been sealed, the allotment letter cancelled and the under construction structure had been seized by CDA.
Senator Swati told the committee that a number of violations of CDA’s by-laws have been committed by a former chairman of the civic body and the managements of Centaurus, Sofa Gold malls and Grand Hyatt, adding that those responsible persons should be given an exemplary punishment.
Swati added that despite the fact that the building had been sealed and its allotment cancelled, construction work on the under-construction building at One Constitution Avenue was continuing.
Subsequently, the committee’s chairman Senator Talha Mehmood directed the concerned officer to provide names of officials in the encroachment cell and other departments of CDA, who were deputed at One Constitution Avenue to oversee it.
Mehmood added that the officials responsible for the lapse would be referred to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for an investigation.
Meanwhile, CDA Chairman and Islamabad Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz assured the committee that he would personally take up the issue and submit a report to the committee on the matter.
Aziz further said that as per court orders, the CDA would pay those who had bought apartments in One Constitution Avenue and soon they would advertise in newspapers asking flat owners to submit their claims with ownership documents to CDA.
Asked about the fate of the under-construction building, Aziz said that the courts or the federal cabinet would decide that, and all directions in that regard would be followed.
The committee was also told that an FIR has been registered in the matter of One Constitution Avenue.
Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Authority Additional Director Akhtar Zaidi told the committee that a no-objection certificate was issued to One Constitution Avenue for constructing to a height of 3,083 feet as per the law and aeronautical study.
Following the discussion, the committee recommended appropriate action against those responsible for violations of CDA’s by-laws.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2017.