Demolishing illegal structures: Why didn’t CDA stop marriage halls when they were built?

Senate panel demands names of all officials involved in allotting land along Kashmir Highway

Our Correspondent September 11, 2018
Mayor of Islamabad and Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) Sheikh Anser Aziz. PHOTO: INP

ISLAMABAD: As the civic body tore down several illegal structures built along the Kashmir Highway, a Senate panel expressed its serious reservations over the actions and asked why the construction of these buildings was not stopped when they were being built?

The Senate Subcommittee on the Capital Administration Development Division (CADD) met at the Parliament Hall on Monday with Senator Kulsoom Parveen in the chair. The meeting took up the issue of delays in the construction of a road in Sector D-12 and the destruction of structures in the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) on-going anti-encroachment drive.

Noting the demolition along the Kashmir Highway, the committee said that most of the structures built there and those torn down were marriage halls and marquees.

“Where was the CDA when they were being constructed,” asked Perveen, adding that all the buildings built along that section of the highway could not have been built in a day so as to escape notice from the CDA.

The committee sought a report on this matter and directed the CDA to provide the names of all officials who were involved in the allotment of these plots.

Khayaban-e-Margalla delays

CDA Chairman Afzal Latif briefed the committee on the delays in the construction of the 8.5 kilometre-long Khayaban-e-Margalla.

Latif said that they had acquired land to build six kilometres of the road but they still have to get control of 2.5 kilometres of road.

He dilated that the Rs588.5 million road is being built towards the south of the city in Sector D-12. It is designed to facilitate traffic coming from Islamabad’s Zone-II along with the traffic coming from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Punjab. It will also serve some of the newer sectors of the capital.

The CDA chief said that work on the project started in June 2012 and 51 per cent of the work was completed by June 2013 at a cost of Rs253 million.

However, he said that the project had run into legal obstacles with a trial court giving a decision against the civic authority. A civil court upheld the lower court’s verdict and now the matter has been challenged before the high court.

Despite the CDA chief’s explanations, Senator Yusuf Badyani held the civic body responsible for delays in the project.

He explained that it was the CDA’s fault it did not fully clear the land before starting work on the project.

Perveen said that delays in projects only cause problems and loss for the public since they have to face issues all the while their money goes to waste.

CDA was directed by the sub-committee to conduct a transparent investigation into the project and sought a comprehensive report on the projects including planning activities to the advertisements and all other steps taken until now.

If any element of corruption is discovered in the project, then the matter will be sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), lawmakers warned. 

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2018.


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