Rendered homeless: K-P housing authority to raze old houses

Intends to construct four-story flats in place of old houses in Civil Quarters; residents strongly oppose move.


Abdur Rauf July 28, 2012

PESHAWAR:


The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Provincial Housing Authority (PHA) is set to construct four-storey residential flats by demolishing old houses in the Peshawar Civil Quarters, much to the residents’ resentment. According to the plan, the 451 houses in the Civil Quarters and residential colony of Kohat Road will be demolished to make space for the flats.


According to the special branch, the proposed construction of the flats has been  strongly opposed by the Civil Quarters Welfare Association (CQWA), who vowed to halt the construction of new flats. They have closed their offices in protest and demanded the government to use the previous site plan, proposed by former K-P chief secretary Ijaz Qureshi, for construction. The association also asked they be given the ownership of the residential quarters.

CQWA, an organization formed by the residents of the Civil Quarters, agreed to Qureshi’s plan which envisaged building two-storey flats in area with ownership rights granted to the civil servants. The plan was dropped by the government.

Civil servants told The Express Tribune that certain political figures in the provincial government have set their eyes on the land. They argued that flats in Larama, Dabgari Garden and the police colony are lying vacant but the government is adamant on tearing down their residences. “The government should spend the allocated Rs994 million for the multi-storey flats to build a new housing scheme for government servants instead of razing down the old one and displacing about 2,000 people,” the civil servants maintained.

In a recent meeting, Attaullah Toru, the additional chief secretary of the Planning and Development department (P&D), asked CQWA President Anwar Khan to explain the concerns of the Civil Quarters residents.

It was decided that administration department secretary Hifzur Rahman will soon convene a meeting of Communication and Works department secretary and Housing Department secretary for examination of the plan, according to official sources in the P&D department.

Section Officer Housing Fayaz Ahmad Khan, confirmed the plan to be executed by K-P Housing Department saying, “In the first phase, 108 four-storey flats would be constructed in the area used as a football ground in the Civil Quarters, 72 existing flats in front of the Kohat roadside would be razed and 700 shops will be built in its place.”

Meanwhile, according to officials in the finance department, Peshawar Civil Secretariat has recently spent Rs15 million on the repair and maintenance of houses in the Civil Quarters and also spent around Rs6 million on the construction of a new hockey ground in the area.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2012.

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