Daily InsightsLand Use and Property Rights

Illegal housing societies – A Threat to the Capital’s Planned development

By 26/09/2022 January 23rd, 2023 0 Comments

The Capital Development Ordinance 1960 conferred on CDA the sole responsibility for the planned development of Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. Until now, CDA did not respond to the need of updating the plan, creating huge excess demand for housing. The Capital Development Authority has recently cancelled the license of fourteen societies that did not register with the relevant authorities. According to the research, only 22 out of 200 societies are legally approved leaving behind around 140 who never asked for approval from CDA. Moreover, more than 90% of zones 2, 4 and 5 of Islamabad are not in the control of CDA.

On average, CDA grants a no objection certificate (NOC) in two and a half years which is a cumbersome and time-taking process. As the population is rising in Islamabad and many people are migrating, the demand for housing is increasing. Landowners and societies cannot wait for delayed approvals and permissions to start their projects, resulting in the illegal construction of societies. Moreover, it encouraged developers to over-sell plots, make fake land ownership records and not deliver the development project in time. Without any proper regulation, two decades have passed and several societies have remained unapproved which is giving rise to malpractices and unplanned areas in Islamabad, which was once aimed to be fully phased and planned. The little capacity of CDA to monitor the irregularities has also resulted in many scams and issuance of NOCs on fake and fictitious documents. The administrators and regulators are benefiting from this corruption and the population of the capital ends up suffering.

It is high time that the government must review urban development as cities are getting sprawled, unmanageable and polluted. Rules and laws must get stricter to free people from scams and waste of time. Moreover, as the land is filling up, vertical living should be promoted. The developers must prioritise the development of real estate rather than seek money. In the long term, it affects the standard of living and results in an unmanageable area. Islamabad is a well-planned city but unapproved societies are not aligning with the plan, thus CDA must be proactive and give NOCs timely before developers start building illegally.

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