CDA cancels mall’s lease for violating by-laws

Published: November 15, 2017
Notes building plans had been approved in contravention of rules. PHOTO: FILE

Notes building plans had been approved in contravention of rules. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: In a bold move, the CDA on Tuesday cancelled the land lease of one of the most popular indoor multi-storey shopping centres of the city, the Safa Gold Mall in Jinnah Super, for building code violations.

The decision was taken by the highest body of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), which met on Tuesday under the chair of Islamabad Mayor and CDA Chairman Sheikh Ansar Aziz.

Deliberating over a 16-point agenda, they decided to take over the building while recommending disciplinary action against officers of the civic body who approved building plans for the mall in violation of the allowed FAR.

The primary charges against the mall’s owners relate to building plan violations — specifically constructing the eighth floor while failing to pay the millions owed to the CDA.

“The CDA had previously objected to the construction of the eighth floor, terming it a violation of the rules. Construction of the eighth floor had to be suspended, but the owner continued to build with the intent of setting up a cinema on that level,” CDA Public Relations Director Muzhar Hussain said, adding that the CDA had also asked the management of the shopping mall to vacate CDA’s land at
the earliest.

According to CDA documents, a plot measuring 170 feet by 200 feet in Sector F-7 Markaz, had been allotted to Al Safaa Golden Co CEO Abdul Qayyum in May 2010.  In June that year, the allottee submitted plans for a building with three basements, a ground floor and seven additional floors against the allowed combination of two basements, ground and
four floors.

The plan also included CDA land (underground) located on the southern side of plot and adjacent to it to be used as parking space.

However, CDA told the company to either amend their plans in line with the defined allotment parameters or obtain formal permission for enhanced relaxation of by-laws.

A case for relaxation in the building’s parameters, after being processed in different offices of the authority, was approved by the Building Control in April 2011.

The relaxation was granted after deducting the circulation and common areas including corridors, emergency exits, lifts, stairs etc. Later on, revised building plans were approved in November 2012 which had an enhanced covered area on the top floor on the pretext that the circulation area would be enhanced during construction.

Later, the authority took notice of this concession and set up a fact-finding committee to probe and determine under which rules the concessions had been granted and the violations made.

The committee discovered that building plans (both original and revised) were approved for gross violations of the by-laws.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2017.

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