CDA expands operation from Kashmir Highway to other parts of capital

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Violations of building by-laws, encroachments

Zubair Qureshi

Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Wednesday expanded its ongoing operation against encroachments and illegal constructions from Kashmir Highway to other parts of the city and its Enforcement Directorate sealed two storeys of a shopping mall during the action.
The staff of Enforcement Directorate along with other concerned formations conducted the said operation in different areas of the city. Not only F-7, the operation was carried out in F-11, Faizabad and other parts of the city. A public transport outlet Al-Makkah Coach, two canteens and a ticket counter were demolished during the enforcement team’s action.
Similarly, another operation was carried out at plot no. 11, Sector F-7/2 (Rana Market). The operation was conducted on the indication of Building Control Directorate.
During the operation, teams of Enforcement Directorate demolished an un-authorized platform, un-authorized construction in rear & northern side and un-authorized construction on top floor while illegally erected fence and other fixtures on CDA’s land were also removed. During another operation, Enforcement Directorate also demolished an illegally constructed buffalo’s shed from street 49, Sector F-11/3.
During this operation, two rooms and one huge shed was also demolished. During the operation, animals were also given in the custody of Environment Wing. Two under-construction storeys in Safa Gold Mall were sealed as the authority’s building control directorate and the Islamabad Capital Territory administration conducted the operation to seal the top two floors of the mall where, according to the CDA, construction work was ongoing.
The National Accountability Bureau had arrested three CDA officials and the owner of Safa Gold Mall last year on corruption charges, after three additional storeys were added to the mall allegedly in connivance with CDA officials. An inquiry by a former CDA member engineering had found that three storeys were illegally constructed in the mall.
According to the report, in the allotment letter, it was clearly defined that the floor-area ratio of the building would be 1:5 with 100pc coverage and the number of storeys was ground plus four, thus capping the height of the building. In no case could the number of storeys be enhanced in violation of the relevant planning parameters and clauses of the allotment letter. Although the inquiry committee had recommended the demolition of the three additional storeys, the CDA did not do so.
Last year, the member planning proposed to the CDA board that the violators be fined Rs1.7 billion, but the board suggested the cancellation of the plot. Following this development, NAB, which first began investigating the project in 2013, took action against officials involved in the scam. According to a team member of the CDA Directorate authority first gave illegal permission in the Safa Gold Mall case but later withdrew it. CDA spokesperson Safdar Shah confirmed that a sealing operation was held at the mall.

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