HYDERABAD: For years the building control authorities have been allowing the conversion of residential plots into commercial ones and that too in residential localities in Hyderabad.
The plots or bungalows then stand replaced by up to ground plus four or even taller buildings.
During a hearing of a petition in the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday government officials could not point out any provision in the regulations which allowed this practice. "[The] learned counsels [of the official respondents] were inquired as to which provision of the regulation was applied for conversion of the said plot, they were unable to point out any regulation," the bench comprising Justice Muhammad Shafi Siddiqui and Justice Arshad Hussain Khan observed.
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In September, 2016, the development control director amalgamated two plots, measuring 300 square yards each, in Latifabad Unit 6 and converted the plots' status to commercial. Upon the court's inquiry, the bench was informed that the Hyderabad Development Authority's (HDA) Town Planning and Development Control wing carried out the conversion.
A resident of Latifabad Unit 6, Syed Munir Hassan Rizvi, pleaded in the court that he lived in a house adjoining the said plots. He added that cracks are appearing in the neighbouring houses, including his own house, due to the construction activity. His counsel, advocate Ayatullah Khuwaja, argued that the building is being erected in a residential locality in violation of the rules.
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According to Rizvi, the builder, M/S Waseem Builders and Developers, purchased a house, plot number 357, a few years ago and began living there. Later, he demolished that house and told the neighbours that he wanted to reconstruct the house. However, he purchased another adjoining housing unit, plot number 356, and demolished it as well and assured the neighbours that he would reconstruct his house on the two plots.
But the neighbours realised his intentions after he hired an excavator to dig deeply in the plots so that the foundation of a taller building structure could be built, he claimed. The petitioner pleaded to the court to halt the building work and order official respondents to take action against the builder.
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The HDA director general, HDA’s director housing and planning, Sindh Building Control Authority director and taluka officer of Latifabad are respondents in the case. The court ordered the official respondents to ensure that the construction activity is stopped and fixed the next hearing in the second week of October.
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