The carefully-crafted regulations for Zone-IV of the federal capital were intended to control ill-planned construction activities, however, two years since their formulation they have failed to do just that.
The main reasons behind the non-implementation of the regulations are in-built flaws in the law, and lack of vigilance by Enforcement Directorate, which deals with illegal moveable and immoveable encroachments.
Under the new regulations for Zone-IV, no residential or commercial unit can be built without prior permission and approval of CDA in the form of a No-Objection Certificate (NOC). However, construction has continued as before with builders not even bothering to submit the site plan with the CDA. According to a rough estimate given by the city managers, more than 5,000 housing and commercial units have been constructed since 2010.
“Actually the Zone-IV regulations are a cluster of laws made for different categories of construction for different areas in the zone that include small and big houses, flats and institutes,” said a senior official of the CDA’s Planning Wing.
He explained that the zone had been bifurcated into sub-zones for different types of construction and very few people are aware of which sub-sector their plots are in, and the construction guidelines to follow.
Before promulgation of the new Zone-IV regulations, construction of a house was only allowed on land measuring 20 kanals or more. But under the new regulations, houses can be constructed on small pieces of land according to the set guideline for the zone.Meanwhile, Director Enforcement Ramzan Joya revealed that not a single site map was approved for any house in Zone-IV by the CDA since enforcement of new regulations.
He said the Enforcement Wing usually checked violations of building rules in commercial buildings but not in case of houses. “These houses are built on private land, so CDA cannot act against them,” he added.
When Dawn spoke to Murtaza Malik, the director general Building Control Section (BCS) who was suspended recently, he blamed the Planning Wing. “The Planning Wing has not circulated new guidelines to the BCS so how could we enforce the regulations?” he stated.
At the same time, he admitted that the present BCS was under-staffed and would not be able to implement the regulations. “The CDA must enhance the strength of the BCS to check violations in Zone-IV,” he said.A resident of Tarlai Kalan, Waheed Ahmed commented: “I believe that both the CDA and those who construct buildings in the zone are equally responsible for the violations because the builders do not follow new regulations and the CDA does not check them.”
In conversations with locals and builders in Zone-IV, another issue cropped up: the average citizen does not trust the civic agency, and so is reluctant to get his site plan approved.
“We know that when we go to the CDA we will be strangled in different hitches and technicalities by the CDA officials to mint money therefore people avoid getting permissions from the authority,” said Noor Alam, a resident of Kirpa, a village in Zone-IV.