D-13 case: poor coordination puts CDA chief in trouble

ISLAMABAD, Dec 20: Poor coordination among top officials of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) regarding allotment of plots in D-13 put its chairman in an awkward situation before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday.

When Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman took up a contempt of court petition filed by the affected people of D-13, Syed Tahir Shahabaz, the CDA chief, claimed that neither the layout plan nor any allotment in the sector had been made so far.

His claim was, however, challenged by Raja Inam Ameen Minhas, the counsel for the 29 petitioners. The counsel not only produced the allotment letters of plots but also pointed out that on December 6, 2012, Ghulam Sarwar Sandhu, the then CDA director general planning, had admitted before the court that the layout plan had been completed over a year back.

To avoid criminal proceedings, the CDA chief has to satisfy the court about the matter on Friday.

According to the allotment letters, the chief executive of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) was among those allotted plots. Sources in the CDA said a plot had also been allotted to former inspector general of police Wajid Ali Durrani in April last year. They claimed that at least 16 allotment letters had been issued after the approval of the layout.

The CDA announced the award of D-13 in August 2008 and the affected owners of the land in the villages of Bhaker Fateh Buksh, Sarisaral, Dherak Mohri, Maira Sumber Aku, Maira Sumber Jaffer and Thala Syedan were offered one kanal developed plot against four kanal raw land in the sector.

In 2009, when the CDA failed to compensate the affected owners, they moved the IHC, which on February 2, 2009, directed the civic agency to compensate them within two months.

After the CDA did not comply with the court orders, a contempt of court plea was moved in the same year which was disposed of on June 6 after the CDA gave an undertaking that the layout plan would be completed in three months that would enable the
authority to compensate the villagers.

When the authority could not allot plots to the affectees, the villagers filed another contempt of court plea in November.

A senior Capital Development Authority official on the condition of anonymity said member planning Syed Mustafain Kazmi and member estate Shaista Sohail had provided wrong information to the CDA chief.

He said both the officers had recently assumed the charge of their offices and due to poor coordination with their subordinates could not gather proper information.

Barrister Masroor Shah, the CDA chief legal adviser, told Dawn that the legal directorate was examining the matter and would provide factual details to the court on Friday. Continue reading

11 new pedestrian bridges being built

KARACHI, Dec 20: The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation is building pedestrian bridges at 11 locations and work on a few of them has already started while all the bridges will be completed within a couple of months, a KMC statement issued on Thursday said.

It added that the bridges were being built to stop road accidents and help people cross various roads where the movement of traffic was very high.

The selected sites, according to the statement, included Sharea Faisal near New Jinnah terminal flyover, Stadium Road near Khatoon-i-Pakistan College and Aga Khan Hospital, Shaheed-i-Millat Expressway near Iqra University, Shaheed-i-Millat Expressway near Azam Basti, Shaheed-i-Millat Expressway near Manzoor Colony, Gulistan-i-Johar near Darul Sehat Hospital, Rashid Minhas Road near KDA Flats, Korangi No 4 near Government College for Women, M.A. Jinnah Road near Humdard Hospital and Capri Cinema, Nawab Siddique Ali Khan Road near Farooq-i-Azam Mosque and Shah Waliullah Road near Café Today.

KMC administrator Mohammad Hussain Syed while visiting a model pedestrian bridge being constructed near the Khatoon-i-Pakistan College on Stadium Road on Thursday said that the bridge sites had been selected after consultation with experts of traffic engineering and conducting surveys by departments concerned.

He said that proper lighting arrangements on these pedestrian bridges would be made to help people using these bridges during the night, the statement added.

He said work on some places, including the Khatoon-i-Pakistan College, Gulistan-i-Johar near Darul Sehat Hospital, Rashid Minhas Road near KDA Flats and Korangi No 4 Government College for Women, had already started while at other places it would be started soon.

He directed officials concerned to increase the speed of construction work of new pedestrian bridges and repair work of those pedestrian bridges that had broken down and were in a poor condition. Continue reading

Building control body Punjab govt jumps the ‘warning signals’

LAHORE, Dec 20: The Punjab government is bent upon establishing the Divisional Building Control Authority despite objections by its own departments that are declaring it an arrangement that will add to the confusion.

The draft law of the authority has reportedly been approved by the Punjab Assembly’s relevant standing committee. Sources on Thursday hinted at its adoption during the current session.

The government had decided to establish the authority under direction from the Supreme Court which wanted to end confusion about building control in the province being caused by the fact that the function was being simultaneously performed by the district governments and the development authorities.

The departments concerned and some legal experts in the government are declaring the new arrangement no solution to the problem.

According to them, building control is the function of the district governments under the Local Government Ordinance 2001 which is still in force. But the development authorities, mainly the Lahore Development Authority, continued to share the job with the district governments (TMAs) in spite of the fact that they had to come under the administrative and financial control of the district governments under the same law.

The development authorities were never put under the district governments because the rulers had been using their income and manpower useful for themselves. Continue reading

New LDA wing to monitor private housing societies

Staff Report

LAHORE: In order to closely monitor the affairs of the approved private housing schemes in the city, Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Director General Ahad Khan Cheema on Wednesday set up a separate directorate, called Directorate of Estate Management (Private Housing Schemes), in the authority.

Headed by a director of general cadre, the directorate will function under the administrative control of Chief Metropolitan Planner of the LDA. It will prepare a proper land bank of the LDA properties and their disposal through auction in the private housing schemes.

The new wing will also safeguard the public utility sites, reserved for setting up schools, dispensaries, community centres, graveyards and other places of public use in these schemes besides controlling the unauthorised sale of mortgaged plots by taking action against encroachments/illegal occupation.

Ahad has appropriated posts to the newly established directorate from existing strength of LDA budget. It will be manned by one director estate management (private housing scheme), one deputy director/senior estate officer (EM, general cadre) and three assistant directors/estate officers (general cadre).

Meanwhile, LDA has urged LDA Avenue-I allottees, who had yet not paid one or more installments out of the total 12 payments, to deposit the remaining price of their plots by March 31, 2013. No mark-up or penalty will be charged from them by this date because of the delay in payment at their part. No further extension will be given in this date. Continue reading