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‘Illegal’ societies still doing business
07-05-2014, 11:37 AM
Post: #1
‘Illegal’ societies still doing business
‘Illegal’ societies still doing business

ISLAMABAD: A vast majority of around 58 per cent of housing schemes declared unauthorised by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) are not only doing business openly but also cheating the investors mainly due to the lack of coordination between two key authorities in Islamabad.

Out of the 128 housing societies operating in Islamabad, 74 have been declared illegal by the CDA whereas only 54 have the legal status to advertise and sell plots.

“These housing societies are illegal because they do not have the required approval and NOCs from the CDA,” said Faraz Malik, the director housing societies of the civic agency. “We have, however, issued notices to the societies for various violations and asked them to adhere to the planning requirements.”

The CDA has also warned the citizens in its website. “General public has been cautioned and warned to refrain from indulging in any sale/purchase of plots in these illegal housing schemes. Before investing in any housing scheme, the public should confirm the legal status of the scheme from the authority.”

CDA has confined its role to issuing notices only
However, despite having the mandate to take action against the illegal societies, the CDA has confined itself to issuing notices only.

Meanwhile, another official of the civic body said taking action against the influential housing societies was not easy. But at the same time, the CDA list has flaws too.

It is evident from the fact that the top name in the list of the illegal housing schemes in Zome-5 is ‘Media Town.’ “Who can take action against these people,” the official added.

However, the ground reality is that nobody seems to be serious about the CDA warnings and business continues to boom even for the officially declared ‘illegal housing societies.’

As in case of the Media Town, the management of the society has not obtained NOC from the CDA because they are working with the Punjab government.

“We do not have the NOC because we are not in the jurisdiction of the CDA, it is in Rawalpindi. The Punjab government had granted the land to the mediapersons and its development consultant is also the agency of the Punjab government,” said Mushtaq Minhas, the president of the Rawalpindi Press Club Cooperative Housing Society.

The list posted at the CDA website showed seven illegal housing societies in Zone II, 46 in Zone IV and 21 in Zone V. The civic body has also issued a warning to the housing societies at its website.

“The managements of the illegal housing schemes have also been warned to stop making any publicity/marketing/booking/sale of plots and making any type of development/construction in the illegal housing schemes.”

Besides, there is a serious lack of coordination between the two main agencies of the federal capital. Both the ICT administration and the CDA blame each other for not doing enough.

“CDA’s role is limited to granting approval for their layout plans and issuing NOCs for development schemes,” said spokesman Asim Khichi. He added that the power to take action rested with the ICT administration.

The registrar of societies conducts the annual audit of these housing schemes and even issues the NOCs.

“Even if there is no NOC from the CDA, the housing schemes claim that they are registered with the registrar of the societies ICT,” the spokesman CDA said, adding: “Some of the societies have even got registered with the Societies and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) as a company.”Meanwhile, a senior official of the local administration said the monitoring role lied with the CDA and the registrar office with a total manpower of less than a dozen officials cannot oversee the operations of the housing schemes.

“The civic body is the regulator of housing schemes and if there is any major lacuna in any project the CDA can take action or inform the ICT administration about it,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, July 5th , 2014
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