ISLAMABAD - The extension of the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) municipal limits to the rural areas of the federal capital, a demand of 0.5 million rural population and politicians who get to power corridors relaying on rural population vote bank, is not something new but it involves several administrative and financial implications.
Total population of the ICT as per the District Census Report 1998 was 805235 (urban 529180 and rural 276055). The estimated present population is 1.4 million (0.9 million urban and 0.5 million rural). The rural area of Islamabad encompasses 133 villages and administratively consists of 12 Union Councils.
The CDA has been providing municipal services to 0.6 million people residing in urban area of the federal capital while the rural area is under the administrative control of ICT Administration. So, 0.3 million of the urban area population and 0.5 million of the rural population cannot benefit from the municipal services of CDA.
Out of 12 union councils, as many as 10 union council falls within Zone IV of the federal capital. The CDA has recently allowed housing in Zone-IV, which spreads over 70,000 acres of land.
Following the amendments in CDA Zoning Regulation, several housing societies have sprung up in the area including CDA’s own Park Enclave. Those who support the idea of extension in CDA’s municipal limits to rural areas are of the view that CDA has been generating handsome revenue after it allowed the private developers to develop housing societies in Zone IV that falls in rural area of the federal capital.
Even CDA has estimates of generation of approximately Rs10 billion revenue from Park Enclave, a housing society the Authority recently announced in Zone IV, but when it comes to provide basic amenities to rural area residents, the CDA is not responsible for that.
The Authority under Section 15-A of the CDA Ordinance 1960 performs municipal functions within specified area, mainly the area consist of developed sectors, as was notified by the federal government on August 20, 1991. The municipal area was lastly extended on January 1, 1999 when right of the way of Islamabad Highway was included in CDA’s municipal limits.
The period to exercise municipal powers and function to CDA was initially granted for 10 years and later it was extended in year 2001 for the same period. In year 2011 one-year extension was granted up to August 20, 2012.
The CDA has been facing several administrative and financial constraints to go with the idea of extension of its municipal limits. Additional manpower of almost 1400 officers/officials would be required beside Sanitation services through contract, if municipal limits were extended to rural areas.
While additional funds amounting to Rs 1,000 million per annum would be required to up keep the additional area and provision of necessary infrastructure, while on the other hand the expected revenue under all sort of heads from this additional area would be between Rs 250-300 million.
For aforementioned reasons, the officials say as the Authority was already facing severe financial crunch and this decision if taken would further increase the financial issues of the Authority.
The federal government is the ultimate authority to allow the CDA to exercise and perform municipal functions for specific period and specified area with Islamabad Capital Territory through amendments in the CDA Ordinance.
Recently, on the consisting demand of owners/residents of model villages for provision of municipal services, CDA has proposed that municipal limits may be extended in phased manner.
In the first phase, areas including Shahzad Town, Alipur Farash, Kuri, Tarlai, Humak Town, P&V Scheme No 1 Tarlai, Industrial Triangle Khhuta and P&V Scheme No 2, Chak Shahzad mainly consisting of CDA schemes/projects may be notified as municipal areas.
Most of these areas are developed and rest is at the planning and development stage. The approximate area of these schemes and project is around 5600 acres.
The Authority back in year 2006 has sought the consent of Chief Commissioner Islamabad but till date the Authority is awaiting respond from that side.
Tariq Fazl Chaudhry, PML-N MNA, who favours the idea of extension of municipal limits to rural areas, while talking to TheNation said if CDA could undertake amendments in zoning regulation of the capital then why not they propose amendments to the federal cabinet in this regard.
He said CDA has an estimated budget of Rs 23 billion per annum while only Rs 230 million are reserved each year by ICT Administration for the development of rural areas. He said a large population of the capital residing in rural areas is still deprived of basic civic facilities.