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FGEHF steps outside its mandate: Private developers engaged to construct apartments - Printable Version

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FGEHF steps outside its mandate: Private developers engaged to construct apartments - Salman - 05-16-2013 03:51 PM

ISLAMABAD, May 15: The Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) has stepped outside its mandate and engaged private developers to construct residential apartments, Dawn has learnt.

The sources in the Capital Development Authority (CDA) the FGEHF move could cost the exchequer Rs10 billion.

“According to the CDA Ordinance 1960 the FGEHF is mandated to allot only low cost housing units and plots for government employees developed through the civic agency,” said a senior official in the CDA on condition of anonymity.

This had been the practice since the first scheme came out in 1980s when CDA built the Sector I-8.

Similarly, the Federal Government Employees Housing Scheme allotted plots and apartments after CDA acquired land to develop sectors G-11, D-12, E12, G-13 and G-14, the official explained.

However, the FGEHF had already got the plans for the apartment buildings spread over 200 kanals in G-13, altered from the CDA from ground plus three stories to ground plus 14 stories.

The price for alteration or the new architectural redesigning from four storied to 15 storied structures was roughly a colossal Rs100 million.

According to the original plan, the civic agency designed the ground plus three storied apartments only keeping in mind resources and facilities to be provided to residents such as water and sewerage, etc.

The four storied structures were standard requirements in all sectors whenever new housing scheme in Islamabad were opened/launched by the CDA to accommodate low income or junior ranking government servants.

“The four storied apartment buildings are designed in G-13 keeping in mind the available space and the basic facilities that CDA can ensure to its residents once they move in,” said the source explaining how the extra floors would put strain on the available services since the sector was not designed for 11 new floors in each building or the extra 3, 000 apartments.

According to the CDAs Estate Wing, Sector G-13 already had some major shortcomings when it came to providing basic facilities to its residents.

Besides ensuring uninterrupted supply of gas, electricity connections, shortage of clean water was the biggest problem in G-13.

“Underground water is insufficient in G-13 and its surrounding sectors. This is why the CDA will be laying a pipeline to bring water from the Khanpur Dam beyond the Margalla Hills to provide water to the National University for Science and Technology (NUST), I-14, I-15, I-16, H-12, G-13 and G-14,” the source said.

The National Reference Manual followed countrywide for building housing schemes, specified how residential accommodation/plots could not accede 55 per cent of the total space of a sector.

But residential accommodations in G-13 were spread across 65 per cent land to meet housing requirements of the rapidly expanding capital city.

With the new design of the apartments would come completely fresh, plans for sizes of roads and parking spaces also to mention some concerns, said the source.

Worst, according to sources in the Estate Wing of CDA, were also to prepare marketing plan for the scheme of the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation once it was completed. Senior officials in the Estate Wing of the civic agency explained how government housing schemes were never marketed for sale.

“Government accommodations are always advertised through media. And only interested government employees are expected to apply. That was how 20,000 to 25,000 plots were sold in the past when the last four housing schemes were announced,” another official said.

He explained if this alteration was not checked the sector would eventually become as crowded as Sectors I-10 and G-9 where congestion had put massive strains on civic facilities – sewerage, water, roads and even schooling for children.

CDA’s Public Relations Wing also confirmed that the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation could not establish private schemes in regular sectors but could only allot plots once developed by the CDA.

This was one of the ways to ensure low cost housing facilities for government employees of low cadres.

Secretary Housing Nasser Hyat seemed lost for words when he was asked to elaborate on the specifics of the project.

“The project was launched before I took charge of this office. The Housing Foundation is within its mandate to engage private developers to build housing units,” said Nasser Hyat in his brief comment.