Double standards: The easy way out, letting off the mighty

CDA drops actions against influential organisations and entities.

Azam Khan August 22, 2011


And relief for the elite keeps on coming. The civic agency, in its latest bid to accommodate the high-income group, decided to review the ‘need for action’ against commercial activity in residential areas. The review, however, has not brought favourable result for those who live there.

The mushrooming of guest houses, restaurants, hostels, shops, clinics, schools, gyms, beauty parlours and offices in the housing sectors all across the capital had become a bane for the locals of the city. And different groups were putting pressure on the CDA to take action against commercial centres in residential sectors for quite some time now.

According to the new policy, the offices of a premier intelligence agency, Inspector General of Police Islamabad, United Nations and other foreign missions would continue to functions in the heart of the capital.

The new plan of Capital Development Authority (CDA) will only focus on the activities of owners of showrooms, hotels, kiosks and other low level businesses. The management of schools and private clinics/hospitals will also be allowed to continue their commercial activities in the residential areas without any hindrance.

(Read: Visual degradation: Islamabad, the eyesore)

A top CDA official told The Express Tribune that the city managers have dropped their operation against influential organisation and people due to “intensive pressure”.

He said that a considerable number of private and public offices were established in residential areas in violation of the CDA bylaws. Out of 876 cases of violations, the total number of such offices is 338, while 84 schools of high repute are also functioning illegally in the capital. Another official said that it was not easy to take action against certain quarters; therefore operation against private and public offices was dropped from the priority list.

CDA Spokesperson Ramzan Sajid said that the review of priority decision was “rational”.

The purpose of reviewing the priorities was not to entertain some specific groups, he said, but the action was planned against owners of showroom and hotels because they were creating problems for residents.

“CDA enforcement directorate along with Islamabad police would take action against owners of show rooms, shops and beauty parlours,” he added.

CDA Chairperson Imtiaz Inayat Elahi directed relevant departments to make the monitoring system vigilant so illegal construction could be stopped in the beginning, Sajid said. The chairperson also asked the CDA deputy commissioner to expedite the decision process on notices served by CDA to violators.

CDA Law Directorate will be responsible for vacating the stay orders from the courts in this regard. After completion of due process, legal action would be initiated against the violators, Sajid said.

Official data reveals that out of 876 cases of non-conforming uses, there are 162 guest houses, restaurants, hotels and hostels operating in residential areas.

The total number of showrooms and shops is 103. Similarly, there are 52 clinics and hospitals functioning illegally.

Some 84 schools, academy and tuition centres were also identified by CDA as illegal as they were functional in residential sectors instead of sector H-8 that was developed for the purpose by CDA.

The number of such gyms and beauty parlours amounts to 73, while miscellaneous cases of non-conforming users are 64.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.