The Capital Development Authority (CDA) Enforcement Directorate demolished eight rooms in government quarters in Sector G-7/2 on Thursday in a drive against illegal construction. It also served notices on more than 50 occupants.
Talking to APP, CDA Director Enforcement Iqbal Tanoli said the authority has undertaken the drive against illegal construction on directions from the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
He said most of the allottees had constructed additional storeys and rooms to adjust their extended family members or had sub-let them for side income.
Tanoli said the authority is taking action on houses that are under CDA control. Most of the residential houses and quarters are under the control of the Estate Office, he said, adding that the CDA is ready to assist the Estate Office in demolishing illegal structures.
CDA Joint Estate Officer Shoaib Khan said that following the IHC order to cancel allotments for those who have added illegal constructions or sublet government property, the authority has launched a survey of government houses in various sectors to prepare a detailed report.
The civic agency will require more than two weeks to complete the survey as there are about 17,500 houses for government employees in various sectors, he said.
According to the CDA bylaws that govern official accommodations, occupants cannot build additional wings, but this is a commonplace now, and quite visible in sectors G-6, G-7 and G-9.
Occupants have raised illegal structures on their roofs, courtyards and even on green belts adjacent to their houses.
A property dealer in Sector G-6/4 said many of the allottees have taken advantage of the shortage of housing units in the federal capital by constructing illegal structures and renting them out.
He said the government quarters are available for between Rs6,000 and Rs15,000, while privately-owned housing costs at least Rs25,000 in Islamabad, which is unaffordable for many.
He said he had a number of clients who had established additional rooms and sublet them. Low-income individuals working in private firms prefer cheaper government housing, he said.
On May 15, the IHC ordered the Estate Office to present a detailed report on government accommodations rented out to private individuals and to cancel such allotments. The next hearing is on June 2.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2014.