5 February 2023
Drive against Commercial Use of Residential Plots
The Karachi Development Authority (KDA) has identified as many as 172 residential plots where commercial activities are being carried out in violation of laws in Clifton area. And, it is surprising that the commercial use of residential plots is not permissible under the laws, but this illegal practice is rampant in Karachi. Now the KDA has launched a campaign against the commercial use of residential plots in Clifton and started sending notices to the owners for stopping the ongoing commercial activities immediately. According to reports, a comprehensive plan has been chalked out to stop commercial activities on the residential plots on the instruction of present KDA director general and the Authority would take action against misuse of the residential plots by cancelling the allotment and lease orders.
The commercial use of residential plot is a clear violation of the terms and conditions of allotment/lease. A spokesman said that the owners of residential plots where commercial activities are carried out have been issued notices over violating related clauses of lease deeds and they have been asked to stop commercial activities on the residential plots within seven days and keep them using the properties only for residential purpose. The KDA now vows the residential plots has to be restored to their original condition in the light of master plan as directed by the apex court in their order in 2019.
Compensation for Flood-affected House Reconstruction
While speaking at a workshop organised by the Sindh People`s Housing Foundation (SPHF) regarding construction of houses for flood-hit people, the Sindh Chief Secretary has said that the flood affected people will start receiving money from Feb 8 for the reconstruction of their houses. Speaking at the event, he said that the Sindh government has created the SPHF a Section 42 company to build houses for the flood-affected people, which has an independent board of directors. He also said that the houses would be constructed in collaboration with implementation partners.
According to the Chief Secretary, a survey had been completed, according to which 2.058 million houses had been partially or completely damaged by rains and floods in the province. “This is not only a project to build houses, but it will also lead to social uplift of the people as the Sindh government will also provide people with the title documents of the land,” says the province`s top bureaucrat. He also informed the participants that the World Bank has committed $500 million for the housing project, Sindh government is giving $250m while the federal government has also promised to provide equal contribution of $250m. He revealed that post-donors conference would also be held in Karachi on Feb 8, where the participants would be briefed about the project. According to reports Rs 300,000 would be given for completely damaged houses in instalments and Rs 50,000 for partially damaged houses and the implementation partner would ensure the completion of the construction of the houses as per the design approved by the Sindh government
Housing Schemes of Lahore Development Authority
The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has been allowed to develop housing schemes at district headquarters of Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib on the model of LDA City housing project, being executed at the provincial capital. According to the minutes of a recent meeting of the LDA governing body, the jurisdiction of the LDA was enhanced up to Lahore division in 2013 by the Punjab government, and the authority exercised functions of master planning, land use conversion, and approval of private housing schemes in the districts of Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib. Though, the authority has approved a number of private housing schemes in these districts but it has not launched any public sector housing schemes in the districts other than Lahore which is a dire need in these cities to prove the authority`s worth and ensure balance in the market in housing sector.
The housing schemes would be developed on the pattern of an LDA city and the authority has also been allowed to establish field offices at the aforementioned districts so as to plan, design, and develop housing schemes. The land is acquired from the landowners by giving them developed plots, and the development is being carried out on modern designs (underground electricity, wide roads, grid stations, stadiums, access to major city roads, etc.) The core objectives behind this proposal are not only to provide good and affordable housing services but also to increase revenue for sustainability of the LDA, which needs billions of rupees annually for payment of salaries to thousands of employees, infrastructure development, and various other expenses, as well as reducing increasing population pressure on Lahore by developing well-planned housing schemes in these districts.
ABAD Concerns for growing Steel Prices
As the local steel bar prices have reached another all-time high of Rs288,500 per ton this week, the Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD) has urged the government to allow import of construction materials from neighboring countries on the basis of barter to defuse the current situation. The ABAD Chairman Altaf Tai said the builders and developers have closed their projects costing billions of rupees and hundreds and thousands people have lost their jobs due to ever high prices of construction materials especially steel bars. He also asked government for steel import otherwise builders and developers will be forced to move their investments to other countries and that move will be detrimental to Pakistan`s economy. Many steel companies has again induced a jump of Rs12,000 per ton this week, due to shortage of raw material and current economic conditions as cited by manufacturers.
On the other hand, the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has revealed the local cement sales in January were 3.58m tons versus 3.41m tons a year ago, showing an up of 5.24%. However, during the first seven month of 2022-23, total cement despatches -domestic and exports -were 25.77m tons, down 18% during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. A spokesman for APCMA said the continued political instability during the last few months and its serious effects on the economy were hurting the cement industry. He mentioned that cement makers are facing several challenges owing to the difficulty in opening the letters of credit (LCs) for coal, spare parts and other consumable items required in the smooth operation of plants.