Poor by-laws enforcement in capital: Parking space shrinking
ISLAMABAD, Feb 9: Islamabad’s business and commercial centres are left with no space for parking due to the poor enforcement of building by-laws.
“During the last about four years, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has allowed over 100 buildings to construct ground-plus four-storeys in all the main Markaz (G-8, G-10, G-11, F-10, F-11, F-6, F-7 and F-8).
The basements of these buildings were to be used for parking,” a senior official of the civic agency told Dawn on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.
According to the civic agency official, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Board allowed the construction of ground-plus four-storey buildings in 2007-08.
Before that, only ground-plus three-storey buildings were allowed in the city.
The addition of the fourth floor was allowed on the condition that the basement would be reserved for parking in the building.
“But today none of these buildings is using its basement for parking. All are running commercial ventures in the basements,” the senior CDA official said.
The Capital Development Authority Board members have ignored the issue of parking in commercial centres, said the official who remained part of the decision-making process in the building control department during the last four years.
The CDA official said it was also decided by the board that before approving any plan, the owner of the building would be asked to ensure an ample space for parking in its basement.
“But with the passage of time, all these buildings have violated the by-laws and the authority has closed its eyes on the issue,” said the official.
According to another official in the administration wing, “Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis, the Greek architect who designed Islamabad’s original master plan in 1960s, had approved a building plan of ground-plus two-storeys in the commercial
He said Doxiadis had written in his policy papers of ‘Islamabad’s commercial building plans’ that with the increase in the population of the city construction of additional two storeys could be allowed.
“But the CDA Board went out of the way to support the business community instead of resolving the public issue of parking by
allowing complete commercialisation of the buildings in the Markaz of different sectors,” added the official.
As a result, people are now facing hardship while visiting commercial centres.
For citizen Mansoor Janjua, finding a parking space at Super Market has become a tough task.
“During rush hours, you have to wait for at least 30 minutes to find a better and safe parking space,” Mr Janjua said.
He added that the CDA Board should take notice of the matter and ensure that the building by-laws are properly implemented.
Asma Naseer, who lives near F-6 Markaz, said: “There is no parking space in the commercial centre since even footpaths are occupied by vehicles. This is an infringement of the public right to free movement.”
When contacted, Capital Development Authority spokesman Ramzan Sajid admitted that instead of parking, basements of buildings were being used for commercial purposes.
“We have already issued notices to a number of building owners for violating the building code by using the basements for commercial purposes.”
Spokesman Ramzan Sajid said the Capital Development Authority chairman, Syed Tahir Shahbaz, and the board members were also looking into the matter.
“The issue of public parking will be resolved soon,” Mr Sajid said.
He added that the implementation of the building by-laws would be ensured and people would shortly see an action by the civic agency.