CDA huddles with PHS to implement its SOPs

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ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) huddled with private housing societies (PHS) to implement its new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). In this regard, the CDA arranged a meeting with a large number of private housing societies operating in the limits of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) at Jinnah Convention Centre here on Thursday.

The CDA conveyed PHS that the authority was ready to revise its policy regarding layout plans (LOPs) approval and stressed upon them to implement the SOPs with letter and spirit.

CDA Building Control-II Director Muhammad Shafi Marwat informed private housing societies about the new SOPs for PHS and authority’s future plan to regularise the societies strictly by forcing its building control regulations.

The CDA official also sought suggestions from the societies’ representatives and listened to their grievances. The majority of these representatives raised complaints against CDA Housing Societies Directorate particularly for inordinate delay in approval of maps and layout plans.

The director also spelt out that the approval of building maps was the mandate of CDA while housing societies were giving approvals of maps on their own, which was the violation of CDA regulations, due to which general public, as well as CDA, was suffering a lot.

He said that some societies had gotten the approval of LOPs without obtaining CDA’ No Objection Certificate (NOC) at which the authority had been issuing notices to them. This ultimately created acrimony between the authority and the societies and remained a useless exercise which increased schism between authority and PHS.

“The purpose of activating building control directorate is to facilitate the private housing societies in a bid to provide relief to the general public, and prevent CDA and these societies from future troubles,” Marwat told the housing societies. He added that the authority was inviting them to get an approval of maps.

He emphasised that CDA would follow the rules while implementing its SOPs for private housing societies, and elucidated that no architect had any authority to give approval of maps for buildings.

The representative of the societies said that they were facilitating people when they were being portrayed as land mafia, which was a wrong impression. They said that if anyone violated CDA by-laws, they must be penalised according to CDA regulations.

They also demanded lifting of the ban on utility connections in PHS, responding to which Marwat clarified that the ban was not imposed by CDA, it was the decision of cabinet in 2004.

In a bid to control and regularise illegal construction in the city, the CDA is in the process of devising a new mechanism to exercise its building regulations since the last couple of months. The regulations would be applicable in the ICT and would particularly focus on housing schemes which lie outside CDA’s schemes.

Previously, due to lax enforcement of CDA’s building regulations, a mushroom growth of illegal housing societies was witnessed in the capital. According to the Building Regulations 2005, CDA Building Control Directorate had a major role in implementing the building by-laws in the capital.

While its jurisdiction extends to the entire ICT, the directorate only enforced its regulations on CDA schemes.

Recently, the Supreme Court had taken notice of an application submitted by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan over illegal and mushroom growth in the Bani Gala area of the city. The apex court had subsequently directed the CDA to devise a mechanism to come up with a solution over how these illegal constructions would be regularised.

Intriguingly, the CDA had formed a separate department, Building Control-II (BC-II), to enforce building regulations outside CDA schemes and sectors.