Construction on hold in cantonments

People left waiting for approval of building plans

Our Correspondent March 29, 2021
Housing and construction projects. PHOTO: FILE


People planning to construct houses on their properties in the cantonment areas of Rawalpindi are waiting for the approval of building plans for months.

If they start construction they will face penalty for not acquiring the building plan, sources in the Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB) said conforming that many people were left in the lurch due to delays in approval of building plans.

The delay in the approval of building plans has halted the construction of nearly 450 houses in residential areas of Rawalpindi Cantonment and Chaklala Cantonment.

A CCB officer requesting anonymity said that after dissolution of elected boards and non-formulation of varied boards, the cases of building plans’ approval were put on the backburner.

Nearly 450 houses were awaiting approval by the cantonment board president for approval under section 25.

However, after a prolonged delay expanding over months, the citizens started construction of houses according to the building plans they had submitted.

As of now, several structures have been completed while others are still under construction.

The cantonment board president has directed the related officials to conduct site visits and impose fines on doing building structures without official nod.

On the other hand, the citizens said that timely approval of building plans submitted with related authority was a legal obligation.

They said that the people were not to be blamed if a board was dissolved and a substitute was not formulated.

The affected people were of the view that a hike in material prices due to prolonged delay was a waste of their money and time.

They contended that there was no point in imposing fines on them when they had not violated the law.

Meanwhile, the sources told The Express Tribune that cantonment land branch officials have been directed to conduct site visits and penalise constructions without approved building plans.

Lack of elected representatives

After the dissolution of the elected board in the two cantonments of Rawalpindi, residents of these areas are facing problems getting necessary documents cleared apart from resolution of other civic and municipal problems.

Separately, a court has observed that either the government should withdraw the notification to dissolve these boards or announce dates for fresh elections of new bodies.

Residents of the Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards said that they usually visited the secretariat of the elected vice president of the cantonment boards for the resolution of their issues.

However, the government recently issued a notification dissolving these elected local bodies. They were instead replaced by three-member boards, comprising at least one civilian, for each cantonment board. However, the government failed to create these oversight boards.

As a result, people visiting the vice president’s secretariat cannot find anyone who would attest documents such as birth certificates and residency documents apart from resolving cantonment related issues. They are forced to approach the cantonment’s administration.

Disgruntled locals demanded that the previous administration should be restored so that their issues can be resolved.


Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2021.


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