KARACHI - Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) is lenient towards illegal commercial constructions built on residential plots in the port city despite the orders passed by SBCA chief.

That seems to be the reason why the Authority has failed to achieve fruitful results in the ongoing crackdown against illegal constructions.

According to SBCA chief Agha Maqsood Abbas, the Authority has demolished around 60 buildings during one and a half months. The buildings demolished had been built on residential plots for commercial purposes, and are commonly known as portions. Thousands of illegal portions, however, still exist in the city.

It is worth mentioning here that the drive has only hurt the poor people who had purchased the portions for residential purposes.

Talking to The Nation, residents of these portions said that if portions were illegal then the authorities should develop a mechanism to stop their construction at an earlier stage.

A local builder, while talking to this scribe, revealed that SBCA had packages for such illegal constructions and such drives only enhanced the amounts of these packages.

He pointed out that the rates had increased hundred times in the last couple of months. “These have now jumped from Rs0.2 million to Rs0.7 million and after the current drive, the amount is expected to reach Rs1.5 million for the construction of 120 sq yards ground plus three buildings,” he conjectured. The demolition drive had been initiated after a meeting held on August 06, in which SBCA chief Agha Maqsood had directed his subordinates to take action against the builder mafia involved in the construction of portions.

However, several senior officers of the Authority have reservations over the crackdown as a SBCA director told The Nation on condition of anonymity that the drive was confined to only three localities of the city North Nazimabad, Liaquatabad and Gulberg on the wishes of political big wigs. “Several officials of director level were posted in these towns for a short period, and later they were removed after inquiries were initiated against them over alleged patronizing of illegal constructions in their respective areas,” he added.

Senior officials of the Authority said that there would be no objections if the crackdown was spread to the entire city without discrimination.

Officials, wishing not to be named, revealed that the authorities were reluctant to target major localities such as Jamshaid, Saddar, and Clifton where the business of portions thrived and was hundred times expensive. This is because of lucrative interests, they added.

On the other hand, construction of portions continues unabated in the city. Although their construction can be witnessed across the city, but those comparatively less strong are commonly the sufferers.

Interestingly, SBCA Director General had removed two directors Adil Omar Siddiqui and Jamil Memon from North Nazimabad over rampant portion constructions.

Meanwhile, SBCA spokesperson, in a statement, has claimed that the crackdown against illegally built portions continues in full swing.

The spokesperson added that the demolition squad of the Authority had sped up the drive on the directives of SBCA chief.

“The squad razed to the ground seven illegal buildings in North Nazimabad, four each in Liaqatabad and Gulshan-e-Iqbal while two each in New Karachi and Saddar last Thursday,” he informed.