In a move to address the growing shortage of affordable housing in Islamabad, the government has approved an instalment-based housing project in the capital.
The project, which has similarities to the Ashiana Housing Project introduced by the Punjab government, was approved by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday.
Explaining the project, Housing Secretary Kamran Lashari told The Express Tribune that work on the “much-needed project” will begin within three to four months.
During a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat on Friday, Lashari informed the PM that between 3,500 and 5,000 flats would be constructed on some 50 acres of land owned by Pakistan Railways.
Lashari, who is a former chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), said that the land to be used for the proposed project near Sabzi Mandi in Sector I-11 is not disputed and that the ministry will negotiate with the Railways authorities over its acquisition.
The total estimated cost of the project is Rs28 billion. The housing secretary also informed Ashraf that only 28,000 housing units were available for government servants against a total demand of 50,000.
Approving the project in principle, PM Ashraf constituted a task force comprising representatives of the housing, railways and finance ministries along with the CDA to assess the price of the land and directed the task force to present its recommendations within a week.
According to a handout issued after the meeting, Ashraf said the government recognises the acute shortage of housing for government servants in the capital. He said this needs to be addressed with out-of-the-box solutions so that some relief can be provided to the bureaucrats.
Notably, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has not developed any new sectors in the capital for over 23 years.
“We need to work out criteria for allotment of flats and ensure their construction according to international standards and affordability,” said the prime minister, adding that due to the shortage of land for construction in Islamabad, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) should encourage high-rise buildings in the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2012.
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