The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has created a number of plots in the green belts of Sector I-8 in violation of CDA’s master plan. The plan does not allow construction in designated green areas of Islamabad.
The Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation had allotted houses and plots to aging federal employees who had completed 20 years of services by September 1988. This Phase I project was completed in 1988.
However, since the past five years, senior CDA officials as well as the housing foundation have allegedly been involved in clearing space for new plots, creating various issues for the already settled residents.
The original master plan was in line with the rules of CDA Ordinance 1960, but the recent changes are not. Hundreds of new plots are being created in the area that come under the green belt without providing necessary services to the residents of Sector I-8
New houses are being constructed without fulfilling the set criteria of the housing ministry and are being rented out. Furthermore, these new constructions are blocking the flow of sewerage into a nullah in the sector.
Muhammad Ashraf DG (Retd) Planning Commission of Pakistan, who lives in I-8, told The Express Tribune that he had requested CDA in October 2008 to manage rain and nullah water that caused inconvenience in the area where his house is located.
Meanwhile, documents obtained by The Express Tribune revealed that hundreds of retired employees had been visiting the CDA office for years and even took the matter to court, but nothing has been done as yet.
Helga Ahmad, an environmentalist, said construction on green belts is banned in Islamabad but this is the second time that the CDA has occupied green belts for residential purposes in I-8/4 .
“Such activities are dangerous,” she said. “The impact of these actions of CDA will cause loss of property and deterioration of health of the new and old residents in the area.”
Misbah Sharif, Additional Legal Advisor CDA, justified the authority’s position. “The creation of new plots for CDA employees or others in Sector I-8 is CDA’s right, as federal housing foundation gifted the plots as part of its 20 percent quota for federal government employees when Phase I was closing down in 1988.”
Ramzan Sajid, CDA spokesperson, said no designated green area had been utilised for planning of residential plots.
“There has been no violation of the CDA Master Plan,” he said. “Planning for sector I-8 plots meets the standard specified by the Ministry of Housing and Works.”
Majeed Jamal, who lives in Sector I-8/4, said he has had to realign the gate at the back entrance of his house and lost rent worth Rs0.7 million because of CDA’s newly-created plots.
“The value of my house has gone down by half, both in terms of capital and rental value, including loss of view, open space and natural light,” he added. “I feel suffocated now, I used to enjoy fresh air before moving into my house in 1996,” he said.
He appealed to authorities to cancel allotments of newly created plots, at least around his house.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2010.