Islamabad - Private housing societies in the capital have collected millions of rupees from people and are pocketing mark-up on the amounts, the Senate Subcommittee on Secretariat was told on Monday.

Senator Perveen Kalsoom told the meeting that many years back when Ministry of Interior Housing Society collected money from the applicants, the price of one kanal of land was Rs.4 million but now one kanal of land was not available even for Rs40 million.

Registrar Cooperative Societies Department Islamabad Muhammad Ali said that the societies were being governed by obsolete rules of 1927. He said that the system had been improved in 2015 as new drafts were prepared and the audit system was strengthened. He assured the committee that the long-delayed elections would be held soon in 7 housing societies including Jammu and Kashmir, Interior and Jinnah Garden housing societies.

The official revealed that 5,000 additional letters had been issued by the Jinnah Garden, whereas the society possessed no land.

Senator Hidayat Ullah apprised the committee that the Intelligence Bureau Housing Society collected full payment for respective plots in 2013 but the allotees were not only denied possession but they were also being compelled to deposit additional charges. The registrar said that he had been told that the society had decided in its annual general meeting to charge additional costs.

The committee also deliberated on water shortage in the capital and stressed the related institutions to play active role to overcome the crisis. It observed that Islamabad was spreading up to Jehlum and locals had given their ancestors’ land to build the capital.

It is responsibility of the CDA and Islamabad administration to remove lacuna from rules and facilitate public so that they could build their houses, it observed.

The subcommittee observed that Sir Syed Memorial Hall was built in recognition of the services of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan so that research could be carried out on him but renting out the building for Rs25 million was violation of the rules.