Islamabad - The Supreme Court yesterday said that all housing societies, both public and private, should reserve 10 percent plots for the low-income people.

The court directed that housing ministries before sanctioning township or housing scheme must put the condition that 10 percent of the total land of the housing society be reserved for constructing houses for the shelteress, homeless and the poor families.

A two-judge bench, comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal and Justice Qazi Faez Isa, was informed that Capital Development Authority has recognised some katchi abadis (slums).

The bench said, “We like to know why the same principles or yardstick or criteria cannot be extended to other slums.” The court inquired whether the proposals made in report are just promise or eyewash or they would be actually implemented in future. The court directed the governments to give their input.

Munir Paracha, counsel for Capital Development Authority, informed that some slums in ICT are established on greenbelts and public parks.

The court ordered that slums should not be disturbed. It asked the CDA to submit the photographs of those slums that are constructed on greenbelts, public parks and places meant for other utilities. It said after that they shall pass an appropriate order.

The additional attorney general earlier submitted a report of the expert working group titled ‘National Policy Recommendation for Rehabilitation of Katchi Abadies.’ The court appreciated the report.

The ministry of housing and works with the collaboration of provinces, CDA and private sector stakeholders prepared the policy recommendations after holding comprehensive consultative dialogues on slums and rehabilitations of the inhabitants.

The report noted that mostly the slums are formed in and around urban centres as a result of unplanned urbanisation. It said there are roughly 100 million slum dwellers in the country.

The report suggested that the government should start urban renewal programme in ICT and provinces to undertake planned redevelopment and up-gradation of those slums, which are not hazardous by virtue of being close to railway tracks, or located under high-power transmission lines, riverbeds or on lands needed for security purposes.

It said according to the plan, public-private partnership model will be adopted for rehabilitation/re-development with the condition that all the occupants are provided a residential unit at affordable price on mutually agreed terms and conditions and the price will be recovered in easy monthly instalments.

The report also stated that the provinces and CDA will initially select at least three slums irrespective of their status (regularised katchi abadi, slum and informal settlement) and prepare workable project proposals in collaboration with land-owning agencies and complete all requisite formalities so as to start the rehabilitation work within 90 days.

The group also recommended that the formation of new slums and informal settlements may be discouraged by exercising strict development controls in all urban areas. “There shall be no eviction till slum residents are relocated as per resettlement plans,” it further suggested.

The report said in all rehabilitation projects, 50 per cent funds may be provided by the federal government and 50 per cent by the respective provincial government.

The local/foreign private developers, local/foreign NGO and philanthropists may be allowed to take part in providing shelters to homeless, landless and the poor families.