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Govt announces action against illegal construction in official residences in Islamabad

7
Govt announces action against illegal construction in official residences in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: After abandoning an operation halfway last year, the Ministry of Housing on Friday has once again announced to launch action against illegal and extra construction made by the allottees of government houses in Islamabad.

Majority of government employees living in official houses in the capital city have made extensions to the premises and in some cases even raised additional storeys in violation of the bylaws of Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Most of the residents of the official accommodations have also encroached on adjoining areas by building extra rooms.

At present, sources said, around 17,000 government houses in Islamabad are under the management of the Estate Office and additional rooms have illegally been constructed by the allottees in a number of residences.

Estate Office directed to issue notices to those who have made additional construction and sublet official accommodations

It seems this violation caught the attention of newly-appointed Minister for Housing and Works Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, who directed the concerned officials to take action against the violators. On his direction, a meeting was also held at the ministry of housing and works in which it was decided that action would be initiated against the violators.

“Minister for Housing and Works issued directives to take stock of illegal occupations and encroachments of federal government owned residential accommodations in various sectors of Islamabad,” says a press release issued by the ministry.

It said that a meeting chaired by Secretary Housing and Works Dr Shahzad Khan Bangash and attended by Additional Secretary Housing Mohammad Ashfaq Ghumman, Joint Secretary Estate Malik Saeed and Director General Estate Office Obaiduddin and other officials decided to take action against those who have made illegal construction.

The secretary directed the director general Estate Office to issue notices to all those allottees who have made additional construction in government allotted houses and sublet the accommodations, it added.

The secretary also directed to issue notices to the allottees that were using government accommodations for commercial activities.

“It was also decided that stern action shall be taken against all property dealers facilitating the subletting of government accommodations,” it said.

The press release said the DG Estate Office assured the secretary that notices will be issued immediately in accordance with rules, adding a similar action was taken in 2018 on the directions of the Supreme Court and 2200 houses were vacated from the possession of illegal occupants.

The secretary housing said that on the directions of the housing minister strict action shall be taken against those who have added extra construction illegally inside the courtyards/rooftops disturbing the original plan of the buildings. He directed the concerned officials to start an anti-encroachment drive immediately.

He said after the issuance of notices, all illegal occupants will be evicted from government accommodations with the assistance of the district administration and the CDA.

Last year, the ministry of housing had started a “mega operation,” from F-6 which was, however, halted just after a week. After stopping the operation, the ministry had in a statement stated: “Minister for Housing and Works Maulana Abdul Wasay held a meeting with representatives of allottees of government houses in Islamabad and directed to immediately cease the ongoing anti-encroachment operation against illegally constructed structures in houses due to current economic circumstances of the country.”

An official source said no doubt illegal construction had de-shaped planned houses in various sectors and this could be a result of connivance between the Estate Office, CDA and allottees, but the government had itself failed in providing required number of houses to government employees.

The shortage of houses is also one of the reasons behind the extra construction in allotted houses as in many cases two to three government employees of same family were residing in one allotted house.

“Besides, conducting an operation, the government should also work to construct new houses to accommodate more employees,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2024

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