ISLAMABAD - Political intervention as well as unattractiveness of the proposed site (Alipur Farash) for the would-be settlers have led to the total flop of the CDAs Model Urban Shelter Project (MUSP), which it initiated with a view to relocate 'katchi abadis in suburbs of federal capital.
Initially, CDA launched MUSP to relocate Muslim Colony, Capitals biggest katchi abadi located near Prime Ministers House, but later, after the 2001 flood, the civic agency also included three more katchi abadis, including Dhok Najju in I-10/4, Esa Nagri, I-9/1 and Haq Baho in I-11/4, in the project.
The CDA officials, privy to the developments, suggested that there was not any other solution of the issue but to adopt strict policies and some ground changes in the code of conduct for the project.
However, the current situation is that in Muslim Colony alone there are approximately 1,600 four-wall structures while in 2004 the number was 1,000. While the number of housing units in three other katchi abadis is also steadily on the rise.
Sources in the civic agency also disclosed that besides political intervention, role of land mafia and negligence on the part of CDAs enforcement department are also playing a role in allowing the situation to deteriorate.
According to CDAs Planning Department officials, they had served several notices and identified many times the increasing incidents of erection of structures in these four Abadis, but the Enforcement Department did not carry out any anti-encroachment drive against them owing to reasons best known to them.
However, Enforcement department officials and Inspectors during telephonic conversation with TheNation, apprised that whenever they tried to bulldoze such structures, people with strong political backing telephoned their high ups and the whole operation came to halt.
Under 2001 National Policy on 'Kachi Abadis, CDA had recognised 11 katchi abadis including Afghan Basti in I-11/4, while according to unofficial data there are some 30 katchi abadis located in and around the capital. CDA had given this recognition to only those Abadis, which were established prior to March 1985 and then March 1995.
Regarding the MUSP, a CDA official said that a total of 4,000 plots were allocated for the dwellers of katchi abadis being shifted to Alipur Farash, 1200 plots were given away to the families which were evacuated from F-9 park area and 1250 were so far given away to the families who were residing in four katchi abadis, while 1550 plots are lying vacant owing to the peoples lack of interest.
To a question, Planning department official alleged that dwellers of these recognized four katchi abadis were taking possession of the plots in Alipur Farash but later they sold it to land mafia agents against profit and did not move from their four-wall units in Katchi Abadi. According to him this is the reason that despite taking possession in Alipur Farash, the number of structures is not reducing in katchi abadis.
Official sources said that in CDAs Alipur Farash residential scheme 60 percent are those who deserved the plots while 40 percent plots were in procession of land mafia.
Most of the inhabitants of these four katchi abadis were of the view that how could they live in an area (Alipur Farash) which was miles away from the capital and was still deprived of gas, water and proper drainage and sewage system despite the CDA claims that development work had been going on in the said area for the past five years.
Alipur Farash is still deprived of water and CDA water tankers were the only source to get this basic need, how one can imagine to live under such conditions, lamented Joseph Masih of Esa Nagri I-9/1.