islamabad - The CDA’s board on Thursday approved a set of recommendations to smoothly shift out private schools from the residential sectors and also gave a green light to an ongoing operation against said educational institutions working in residential premises. While rejecting one of the total eleven recommendations purposed by Building Control Section, the CDA board has asked the said directorate to seal even the preschools, which are operating in residential buildings. 

The board is an apex forum of decision-making, comprising Chairman CDA and its board members while chief commissioner Rawalpindi and chief commissioner Islamabad are its ex-officio members. There were 367 private schools operating in residential buildings, however, the building control section have sealed 53 schools so far in an ongoing operation following the directions of Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court. A general operation against non-conforming use of residential buildings across the city has been going on since 2014. However, the civic body had showed leniency towards educational institutions and placed them in the last row because of the directions of the interior minister at that time and the chairman CDA and due to multiple litigations. A special committee was also formed by CDA on the directions of IHC to give an opportunity to private schools and their associations and a general meeting in this regard was also convened at Jinnah Convention Centre Islamabad on 11th May 2018, which was attended by a large number of participants.  The said committee forwarded eleven -point recommendations for the consideration and final approval of the CDA board and the same had been approved accordingly except a single proposal in which the committee recommended to allow preschools in residential areas. According to other recommendations approved by the CDA board, show cause notices will be issued to all those schools’ plot holders, who did not construct the buildings so far and will cancel their allotment ultimately if they will fail to satisfy the civic body. The show cause notice will also be issued to those plot owners, who constructed the buildings but did not shift their schools from the residential premises so far.  It is also recommended that the authority should allot all the pieces of land earmarked in residential sectors for educational institutions according to its rules while making sure to dispose of all those plots which were previously allotted but were subsequently cancelled by the authority. In an important development, the recommendations also include that CDA would request Federal Directorate of Education to explore the opportunities of sharing its land with private schools as it has been allotted huge chunks of land in all sectors, which are still unutilised.

Private Housing Schemes will also be stressed to ensure timely construction on plots reserved for schools while all those private school owners, who are willing to shift their schools into private lands in Zone-II, IV and V shall be encouraged and facilitated by the expediting the process of approval of building plans.  It is recommended further that the planning wing shall find the possibilities of earmarking plots for private schools in developed sectors while in the future during planning phase of every new sector, the plots for private schools would also be earmarked.  The CDA board approved that schools which will not stop the use of residential premises will not only be sealed but will also be fined Rs500000 as lump sum and a fine of Rs10000 per day will also be charged.  Meanwhile, the CDA board has rejected a summary purposing a third party mechanism to monitor the development work in private housing schemes to protect the rights of general public as well as to curtail illegal developments. Chairman CDA was of the view that there is a possibility of unannounced understanding between the third party hired by the civic body and the owners of the housing society so he suggested establishing a dedicated directorate within the authority for the said purpose.  The board also allowed the transfer of the ownership of plots by allottees of Park Enclave II, but subject to the clearance of all outstanding dues. A proposal to give alternative spaces to 46 nurseries in right of the way of Kashmir Highway was also rejected by the board.  Sources told the Nation that the same proposal was rejected as Chairman CDA remarked that the earlier lease of nurseries was purely temporary in nature and getting new plots in lieu of old one is not their right. The board could not reach a conclusion to finalise the modalities of post cancellation scenario of Safa Gold Mall plot and deferred the summary for the time being.