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CDA directorates blame each other for failing to control unauthorised construction

ISLAMABAD: Two Capital Development Authority (CDA) directorates are at loggerheads over who is responsible for controlling unauthorised construction in the city.

More than a hundred housing societies are operating illegally in Islamabad, and most of them have taken over land reserved for graveyards, schools and other civic amenities, creating problems for people who have built homes there because timely action was not taken against their operators.

In a letter, the housing societies directorate recently asked building control to take action against sponsors of illegal housing schemes and against schemes whose layouts were cancelled.

Pointing out illegal societies in zones II and V and in E-11, the housing societies directorate asked various organisations to take action against housing society operators.

In response, the directorate of building control II on Monday said the issue of housing societies needed to be quelled on solid grounds in a practical way.

List of illegal housing schemes may be referred to DC, spokesperson says

In a letter, Deputy Director Usman Rasheed Khan said that under zoning regulations, after the clearance of the no-objection certificate, every sponsor of a society must seek approval of engineering design and specifications of utility services from the director general planning.

Authorised CDA officers are also to inspect the site during the development of the scheme and record their observations.

The letter stated: “Major issue in housing schemes is that they have developed their scheme/society in complete deviation of approved layout plan and majority of societies has no obtained NOC from CDA. The question now arises that how they have undertaken the infrastructure work without obtaining NOC form the CDA and if they have obtained necessary approval from the CDA then how they developed in complete deviation of approved LOP.”

The construction of buildings comes later, the letter said, adding that if the aforementioned system had been in place “this whole mess would not have been created”.

The official wrote that if the society had been properly supervised by the concerned CDA officers when infrastructure was being developed, ensuring that housing societies and schemes were being developed according to their approved layout plans and no deviations had taken place “then no violation at site would occur”.

The building control letter advised the housing societies directorate to ensure that CDA officers visit schemes that are now in the construction stage to check whether infrastructure is being developed according to engineering standards and, if this system is in place, they would make sure development is carried out according to the approved layout plan.

The letter also referenced various regulations that empower the housing societies directorate to deal with societies that violate layout plans. It added that building control II was established in 2017 to exercise building control in approved housing societies “but unfortunately no requisite staff has yet been posted despite various efforts”.

It added that the understaffed directorate could not carry out fieldwork to check unauthorised construction, and also called for a complete ban on construction in illegal housing societies.

CDA spokesperson Safdar Shah said the list of all illegal housing schemes may be referred to the deputy commissioner for the imposition of section 144 to ban construction in the limits of the Islamabad Capital Territory.

He said the CDA was not restricted to just issued notices, and action has been taken against the operators of several housing societies

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