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Constructions continue in Murree despite ban
01-02-2014, 01:26 PM
Post: #1
Constructions continue in Murree despite ban
MURREE: Despite the Punjab government’s ban on construction in Murree, illegal constructions continue in which the staff of Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) is allegedly involved.

A number of such buildings are under construction in Darya Gali, Upper Jika Gali Road, Rawat, Bhurban, Kashmir Bazaar, Expressway and several other areas.

The ban had been placed following the collapse of a multi-storey building on Hall Road in September 2006 in which three people were killed.

The then Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice and asked the relevant authorities to submit a detailed report on illegal buildings in Murree.

Complying with the orders, the then town nazim of Murree presented a list of 162 buildings which he termed illegal, and requested the court to provide two months to demolish these buildings.

However, six years on, no considerable action has been taken against these buildings as even their supply of electricity and water has not been disconnected.

This has allegedly been done with the help of TMA staff.

Owners of these illegal buildings continue to run their commercial business while TMA takes no action.

Hafiz Saeed Ahmad, the president of Rural Areas Development Organisation (Rado), a local NGO, said he would sue those responsible for the illegal constructions for contempt of court.

He said construction of bungalows and multi-storey hotels continued unchecked, especially near Expressway which was in the limits of TMA Murree.

On the other hand, he said residents who could not afford to bribe the relevant authorities were unable to build their house even in villages.

“The greenbelts on Mall Road have also been encroached with the help of TMA staff,” he alleged.

According to the Punjab government’s by-laws, only two-storey buildings can be constructed in Murree. However, at some areas, even thirteen-storey buildings have been constructed.

For example, apartments were illegally built on land which had been leased for the construction of a hotel. Originally, the project comprised of a four-star hotel and a shopping mall while the remaining area was marked open space.

However, the project was later on converted into multi-storey apartments in violation of the lease agreement as the apartments were financially more lucrative.

Azkar Abbasi, a resident of Darya Gali, told Dawn that the ban on construction was only for local residents who were unable to pay bribe to the authorities concerned.

“Commercial buildings are being constructed in broad daylight but no one pays attention to these. The authorities know about this but remain silent,” he maintained.

When contacted, Assistant Commissioner Murree Tahir Farooq said the areas of Bhurban, Darya Gali and Expressway were not in the jurisdiction of TMA.

Consequently, he said TMA could not interfere in any construction in these areas.

However, he maintained that after taking charge, he had suspended five building inspectors for their alleged involvement in illegal constructions.
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