CDA pushes posh sector residents into blind alley

Published: July 1, 2010
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Construction in full swing on green belts

Construction in full swing on green belts

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.

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Reader Comments (1)

  • Anonymous
    Jul 14, 2010 - 4:39PM

    Hi,
    I have been living in I-8/4 since 1998. From my memory i can recall that those days were the golden days of peaceful life in Islamabad. I-8 used to be a planned locality with many parks, wide streets and plenty of greenery. it was rated highly against other sectors in Islamabad.
    In the past few years as CDA has been failing to manage its budget deficit, it has resorted to the old trick used by govt. departments, of selling land to overcome these financial problems, and they indeed sell what was available, and sector I-8 has been a major victim of this crime. If you go for an evening walk in this sector you will find that there are houses in the corner of almost every street that is almost touching the road from the front and side. This action not only has made the sector over crowded, caused imbalance in power supply to the area, and has also destroyed the roads due to construction activity.
    Moreover to avoid the complaints of the residents who used to be the corner plot owners of those streets, they left a 10 feet street in between the two houses, which resulted in the new corner plot to look like being constructed in the middle of the road when viewed from the side, which off course, creates problems for the vehicle drivers entering or leaving the street. I used to praise the town planner and engineers of I-8, but can i do it now when i see a house whose entrance seems to be in the middle of road, while all other houses have a good 10 feet gap from the edge of the road, not to imagine the divine intervention that came to the brains in CDA who left the 10 feet street which is of no use because it is closed from the other side, separating rest of the street from this lonely looking house standing on the road apart as if it has been disowned by the rest. The new houses constructed in this way are also numbered in the most dumb manner possible, so for example after a ex. corner house no. 603 you will find houses 603A, 603B, 603C etc. etc, a numbering scheme that is not generally used in Islamabad.
    Anybody can guess that to avoid/satisfy court appeals from the corner plot owners CDA has created closed streets without houses, and house numbering schemes to keep the no of houses same as the original master plan.
    when the managing authority violates the laws, then there are other unlawful element that also get encouragement, so i can count that there are 9 mosques in 1 km radius of my home, whereas there is only one mosque in the local market in the master plan, since most of these mosques are illegal an belonging to different ethnic groups like shia, sunni or berailvi etc, they is always a chance of conflict.

    In the end I can only hope that the situation will get any better, as the houses have been constructed and can you imagine CDA is now asking for a bail out from centeral govt.Recommend

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