ISLAMABAD: Unhappy with the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) lacklustre approach toward katchi abadis, the prime minister has directed the chairman of the authority to survey slums in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), and draft a policy on the matter with appropriate legislation.
In a letter, the prime minister also told the CDA chairman to create a time-bound plan for action consisting of all the aspects of katchi abadis.
The letter is dated Sept 16 and available with Dawn. It states that the prime minister was disappointed with the lack of response by the concerned offices of the federal and provincial government, as reported by a focal person appointed by the Supreme Court.
The document went on to say that the focal person, during the last hearing of the katchi abadi case being heard by the SC on Oct 31, informed the court of a lack of cooperation from provincial governments, as well as agencies of the federal government.
“It was also contended by the focal person that the concerned secretaries were repeatedly called but they failed to appear and also didn’t furnish their replies. While expressing its displeasure, the court has set a time of two months for concerned government functionaries to address the issue,” the letter stated.
Matters related to katchi abadis and low-cost housing has been pending before the SC for over a year. During a hearing, the court passed various orders laying down guidelines to address the issue
comprehensively, and during the last hearing in August, the court recorded its serious displeasure and directed all the provinces and the CDA to formulate a comprehensive policy regarding katchi abadis and low-cost housing.
The court has also called for legislation to cover all the aspects of the issue, including safeguards against land-grabbing and encroachments.
CDA Member Planning Asad Mehboob Kayani said after the SC’s directive and the prime minister’s letter, the authority has begun the survey.
“We are also holding meetings to propose appropriate legislation to give existing slums legal cover,” Mr Kayani said, adding that there are 10 recognised slums in the city and reports of over 30 unrecognised settlements.
“The prime minister took notice of CDA’s lacklustre approach during and before the Aug 31 hearing. At the time I was not a member – now, I am personally monitoring the katchi abadi issue,” he said. Mr Kayani said the CDA is also in touch with the National Database and Registration Authority for information on the residents of Islamabad’s slums.
The provision of low-cost housing for slum dwellers came into the limelight last year after the demolition of the I-11 katchi abadi, when the Awami Workers Party raised the issue at various forums. The party then petitioned the SC.