RAWALPINDI: A whopping 90 per cent of structures, constructed within the jurisdiction of the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC) over the past five years, have been found to have violated building by-laws.
This has been disclosed in a report prepared by RMC’s planning department to identify all such structures in Rawalpindi which were erected in violation of building by-laws.
The report, prepared by the RMC after the promulgation of new local government system in the province, shows that several commercial and residential buildings were constructed in the city without leaving open spaces or a car park in the basement as required under the building codes.
The survey further disclosed owners of commercial plazas have opted to build shops in space which was supposed to have been allocated for car parks to earn more money.
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Moreover, many commercial buildings in the city built additional floors without seeking due approval of the development authority.
Similarly, owners of residential buildings constructed porches and boundary walls on land which was not included in the original demarcation of their plot, thereby encroaching on state land.
The report, prepared under directions from Rawalpindi Commissioner Muhammad Mahmood, further revealed that building owners openly flouted bylaws in the past five years, safe in the knowledge that they will face no reprimand as the elected local government under former Rawalpindi Mayor Sardar Naseem had failed to set up the composition committees.
These committees of RMC were supposed to keep a check on unauthorised construction in the city, the implementation of building bylaws and regularisation of illegal structures after collection of due composition fee.
Following the survey, the RMC administration has sent notices to
owners of these buildings to get their illegal structures regularised.
The corporation will charge double the composition fee from the owners of these properties for regularising their illegal structures, the notices read.
They warned that if the fee is not paid, the building owners could face strict action including sealing of the premises or the demolition of their buildings.
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The measure is expected to generate massive revenue for RMC. The sources in RMC informed The Express Tribune that in the past, no action could be taken against mushrooming illegal structures as the composition committees were not formed during the tenure of the local bodies’ elected in 2016.
RMC seeks building plans of commercial plazas
Earlier in January, owners of many commercial buildings located along Murree Road near Liaquat Bagh and adjoining areas had told The Express Tribune that they have been directed to submit their approved building plans to the corporation.
Every building is required to have a building plan developed by a certified architect and subsequently approved by the local authorities before they can be built.
The corporation had warned building owners that if they fail to produce the approved maps of their buildings, RMC will seal their premises and may even demolish all such structures. Moreover, FIRs will be registered against the violators.
Sources said that on receiving these notices, influential plaza owners had approached the MPAs and MNAs of their constituencies to save themselves from punitive action.