No end to illegal use of residential units in sight

ISLAMABAD  – The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has not been able to devise a strategy to bring an end to the use of above 1,000 residential units being used for commercial purposes in violation of civic by-laws and posing security threats.

According to the Islamabad Residential Building Regulation 2005, the use of residential units for commercial activities is forbidden else the CDA is empowered to impose fine or even cancel the allotment of the land.

Despite terror attack in restaurants and foreign missions operating in residential areas, the city fathers have yet to work out a solution to relocate these offices or outlets to the specified areas.

According to a CDA survey, around 102 guest houses, 61 hotels, 113 showrooms, 62 clinics, 84 schools, 345 offices, 79 gyms or beauty parlours and 67 housing general businesses are operating in residential areas.

However, an official at the Building Control Section, who deals with such cases, said that the parties running these businesses in residential areas use their influence rendering the CDA helpless.

He said upon receiving complaints, the BCS issues 15-day notice to the parties concerned to remove the violations at their own, failing which their cases are referred to Deputy Commissioner, CDA, for trial under Buils to the DC CDA for trial out of which 450 have been decided.

He said the authority has also removed 465 violations on the orders of the DC where the misuse of the building has been ended.

He said most of the times, the parties, who fail to get relief from the deputy commissioner move to the civil or high court just as delaying tactic as 31 such cases were under trial there.

In total, 130 cases were pending before the deputy commissioner and the CDA was awaiting their fate to be decided.

However, he said the end of this misuse is complicated. He said that the regulatory authorities for registering educational institutions must not give permission for schools or colleges in residential areas.Those, who are running educational institutions in residential units, complain of not being allotted suitable land by the CDA, as the Master Plan has no provision for the purpose.

In his comments, the CDA spokesman said the Authority has specified sufficient land for establishment of educational institutions in upcoming sectors.

He said the CDA was also striving to end the misuse of residential buildings; however he said the CDA could take any action only after the court rules against the violator.