After many years in Karachi, a housing society was launched on Friday for people who may want to escape the commercialisation of their neighbourhoods but cannot afford to buy pricier property in say DHA, PECHS or Mohammad Ali Housing Society.
Naya Nazimabad City, a project of stockbroker and businessman Arif Habib, is located at a drive of 20 minutes from Water Pump Chowrangi in Federal B. Area. Another big broker, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi, has also put his weight behind the project.
Naya Nazimabad’s sponsors want to outdo Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Bahria by completing the project in time.
“We are not targeting the people who live in Defence or Bath Island,” said Ovais Sohail, the project manager. “Our clientele will come from Gulshan, New Karachi and Nazimabad.”
The project will be developed in phases with the first one to be finished by 2015. “This entire city will take ten to eleven years to complete.”
Sponsors have hired around 150 personnel of the Frontier Constabulary for security of the project, which is located near the violence-prone Qasba Colony and between Pukhtunabad and Baloch Goth. The number of FC guards will be increased once residents move in, an official said.
Naya Nazimabad, with hills on one side and Manghopir Lake on the other, will house 300,000 people in single-storey units and flats. Since the development of the homes depends on demand, developers were unable to say exactly how many houses will be built.
Hospital, schools and markets are part of the project.
Naya Nazimabad will have its own bylaws. “It’s not like you can buy the plot and construct whatever type of house you feel like,” said Sohail. “The bylaws need to be followed. We will continue to work as the administrator.”
A single-storey house covering 160 square yards is being offered for 3 million rupees, with a 1.2 million-rupee debt component.
The chairman of AKD Securities, Aqeel Dhedhi, said that the project drew on inspiration from the Askari and Navy Housing Scheme projects. “There are no gated societies in Karachi,” he claimed. “Naya Nazimabad will have gates on all three societies that will be properly guarded.”
While he describes it as an investment in society, there is no denying the strong possibility that it will also prove to be a good business proposition. “I have seen that property in such societies rise in value and offer a good premium over time.”
Dhedhi is all praises for Naya Nazimabad for the obvious reasons. But developers and property agents agree that people in Karachi are desperate to invest in property.
One reason for the high value of a plot in DHA or say Navy Housing Scheme is their strong administrative control. For example, if you buy a plot in DHA’s Phase VIII today and leave it empty for ten years there are extremely low chances of encroachment. The same cannot be said for other parts of Karachi where the land mafia have become such a menace that the Sindh Assembly even pursued legislation to tackle them.
Naya Nazimabad is different from other projects built in recent years such as Maymar as they are on the outskirts of Karachi, points out the former chairman of the Association of Builders and Developers Farooquz Zaman. “The other societies, which are coming up are also outside the city limits,” he said.
According to him, a well-developed society needs over 1,000 acres of land. “Getting that in Karachi is near-impossible. The city stands divided on ethnic lines. And for all those schemes coming on the Super Highway, security remains a concern.”
Naya Nazimabad is spread over 1,200 acres, most of which belonged to Javedan Cement plant, a company of the Arif Habib Group.
While manager Ovais Sohail was sure that they would be able to provide basic amenities, a lot of questions need to be answered. Karachi’s water utility is under increasing criticism for failing to meet the needs of tens of thousands of people. How would it ensure a supply to Naya Nazimabad? Sohail explained that it helped that they are located right near Hub, the dam from where Karachi gets its water. “Both the main supply conduits pass near the project,” he added. “And I don’t see any reason for us to be denied the supply.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2011.
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