Centreline has got letters from a number of retired government servants who have requested us to highlight their plight in the media. And what is their plight —– the federal government had given them a piece of land in Islamabad’s Sector G-14 in 2003 so that they could build their own house and live rest of their life happily. But to much of their disappointment since 2003 till date development work has so far not been carried out in the said sector despite the fact that these retired lots plus all other plot holders have already paid additional amounts to housing foundation. These additional sums were to be paid to the affected occupants so as to make them vacate the place.
Ironically this process was completed about five years ago but even then nothing on ground has changed. However what we have seen there is abnormal increase in built-up properties. Influential people are erecting huge and concrete buildings with a view to getting more and more compensation from the government in case they are asked to vacate that area. And all this reportedly is going on with the connivance of concerned officials of the Housing Ministry. The retired officers claim, as a matter of fact these representatives of qabza mafia are encouraged by certain Ministry and FGEHF officials to build houses there so that when time of payment of compensation for Built-up property comes, such people could get huge sums. Ostensibly, the big losers in this whole drama would be the poor, wretched retired government servants and other allotees who would be asked to pay more.
Last week, the Secretary Ministry of Housing Kamran Lashri, in an interview, told that the development work in G-14 sector will start within one month. He further said award for built-up property in the very sector would be announced after one week, which means the process of announcement of that award must have been completed. He further said, the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) has already finalized list of 788 affected people having 1.86 million square feet built-up property against which they would be compensated or many of them have already been compensated.
According to Lashari the Housing Foundation would not face any financial problems in timely completion of the civil work. He said, in order to keep the whole process transparent, the housing foundation would call open tenders for selection of the reputed
contractors to take up the development task. Asked about deployment of rangers or police at Sector G-14 to protect the land from encroachers, Lashari said they have asked the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration to look into that possibility also.
While the retired government servants should derive relief and encouragement from the statement of Secretary Lashari, the housing foundation ought to take immediate measures to stop construction of further illegal houses in the sector.
Secretary Lashari is known as a man of commitment and integrity and during his tenure as the Chairman CDA a lot of development work done in the capital besides development of various touristic resorts and parks. Therefore one can hope he will fulfill his promise of starting the development work in Sector G-14 within one month or so.
Similarly, other housing projects that come under the purview of the Housing Ministry should also be completed as soon as possible because people are facing severe accommodation problems. Of course the Ministry is an organ of the federal government, yet high-ups are duty-bound to address such issues for it is their responsibility to provide shelter to all and sundry. The government is completing last leg of its period. People are expecting some relief, which they could not get in previous four years. They are quite hopeful and confident that the government will not disappoint them this time.