Islamabad - In a major favour to the residents of illegal housing schemes here, the government is mulling to give one-time relaxation of zoning bye-laws so as to provide utility connections to the building units, The Nation has learnt reliably.

The move would help pave way for provision of the utility connections i.e. gas, electricity and telephone to all the existing building units in these illegal settlements, which the federal cabinet had barred in 2004 as illegal.

The relaxation, which will mitigate the sufferings of the property owners, will be given subject to certain conditions, like the sponsors/owners of these building units must provide certificates for soundness and stability of the structure, said the official documents exclusively available with The Nation. 

Background: The federal cabinet in its meeting held on May 19, 2004, had decided in case No.108/10/2004 that construction in contravention of the zoning laws should not be allowed in zone-2, 3, and 4 of Islamabad on government or private land. It further directed WAPDA, SNGPL and PTCL not to provide connection in these zones, unless an NOC has been obtained by the applicant from CDA. Furthermore, Islamabad High Court vide order dated January 13, 2015 in the writ petition No.4958/2014 also directed to restrain from giving connections to such applicants who have not obtained permission/NOC from the CDA.

The one-time relaxation, Minister of State for CADD Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudahry is striving for, is part of the recommendations formulated by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to settle the long-standing issue of utility connections to the illegal old settlements/Abadis which has been presented to the minister who is also a member parliament elected from the capital city. After approval from the minister, the recommendations will be put before the CDA board for its final approval. According to the sources in the CADD, in a meeting, held in November 2015, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary had pointed out that the list of illegal katchi abadis also contains the old abadis which were established even 30-40 years ago and held that it is not justified to deprive these old abadis of basic facilities.

He directed that the letter earlier issued to the concerned departments to stop providing services in these areas be suspended/withheld up to the extent of old abadis till the final decision is taken on this issue. The move is part of the state minister’s efforts to provide utility connections in the illegal housing schemes in his constituency.

The recommendations said the ICT administration may be requested to identify the number and extent of all old abadis in ICT limits wherein utility services connections can be provided as ICT administration executes development work from the local government fund and mutations of land in these areas. 

The recommendations said CDA shall not be responsible for provision of any sort of development/maintenance and provision of services. The ICT administration should include the provision of sewerage treatment plant in the development schemes in these areas so that environmental degradation and pollution of natural streams can be avoided. The owners of individual buildings will pay commercialization charges as determined by finance wing, CDA, the recommendations read.

New construction or expansion of old abadis: Under the recommendations, no construction, erection or re-erection of buildings will be permissible in old abadis or expansion of old abadis without prior approval of the authority under the provision of CDA ordinance, 1960. As per provision of section 12 of CDA ordinance, 1960, the ICT may prepare in the specified area a scheme with the consultation of the authority.

The owners of individual buildings will pay commercialization charges as determined by finance wing, CDA.

One time relaxation to all the existing building units would be subject to the conditions as: Submission of schemes lay out plan in the authority by the sponsors. Where sponsors of the scheme are not available, registered association of residents may submit the layout plan documents for approval of the authority. The owners of the existing individual buildings will submit their building plans for approval of the authority along with certificates for soundness and stability of the structure of these units. The owners of individual buildings will pay commercialization charges as determined by finance wing, CDA. All fresh transfers of saleable areas (land, plots) will be executed in CDA henceforth. Sponsors will not be allowed to sale any saleable area before complete provision of graveyard, parks, playgrounds and public building areas, the recommendations further read.

Land sub-division rules: No new residential and commercial development would be allowed except for provision of parks/playgrounds, public building area and graveyard. Compromise may only be made to the extent of roads only.

CDA has conducted a survey and prepared a list of illegal housing schemes in the ICT which are functioning without approval of the authority. The authority also informed the general public through public notices at various occasions asking them not to make sale and purchase in the illegal housing schemes which are operating without permission. The sponsors of illegal housing schemes have also been given notices to refrain from violating CDA Bye-laws and stop the illegal development.