Illegal abodes: Of fires that ensure a hearth for federal employees

Ministry has no record regarding illegal occupations.


Riazul Haq May 05, 2014
The fire broke out in the record room on the 9th floor on March 2, which, according to an initial probe, was a deliberate attempt to destroy illegal allotment records. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:


Of the 17,000-plus government houses in the capital, the number that is illegally occupied remains anybody’s guess.


Accepting their inability, the Ministry of Housing and Works on Monday told a parliamentary panel that it does not have any records regarding illegal occupations.

Ministry officials also accepted that they only recently starting scrutinising houses which are inhabited by people who are not “owners on file”.

The issue of illegal houses came up in a meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Housing and Works when it discussed the recent fire incident in the Estate Office at the Shaheed-e-Millat Secretariat, where, according to the ministry, about 80 per cent of record was burnt to ashes.

The fire broke out in the record room on the 9th floor on March 2, which, according to an initial probe, was a deliberate attempt to destroy illegal allotment records. Apart from the records, furniture and other installations worth Rs4.5million also went up in smoke, ministry sources said.

In 2007, a fire in the same building caused an estimated loss of Rs19.7million.

When committee chair Senator Shahi Syed asked about the enquiry report, Minister for Housing and Works Usman Ibrahim informed that they have forwarded the case to the Federal Investigation Agency, adding that four to five officers including the joint estate officer could possibly have been involved in the incident.

Estate Officer Mohammad Ashraf informed the senators that a mafia among the staff was involved in illegal allotment of houses. He further informed that in 2010 and 2011, bogus allotments of government houses were detected and the Supreme Court had ordered that the issue be looked into.

Replying to a question about records of fake allotments, he said the ministry has no such record.

The minister added that they were reviewing all the allotments and this could be a reason behind setting the fire.

Syed urged to break the nexus formed among the broker, allottee and the ministry officials. He recommended constituting a separate committee to investigate the matter.

Earlier, a Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation representative informed the committee that steps were being taken to discourage land grabbers as about 1,200 applications for allotment of plots having the same home address had been identified.  He further divulged that they already have cancelled the allotment of 32 plots to the members of executive committee of the housing foundation on the directives of the prime minister.

Development of sectors D-12, E-12

A ministry official informed the committee that the funds for the development of Sector D-12 was given to Capital Development Authority in FY 1993-94, but they have yet to see the completion of the sector.

The CDA Housing and Works director said the issues of litigation and land grabbing were the cause of the delay.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2014.

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read