MABAD - Allottees of the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation, G-14, are facing serious difficulties due to the time and again hike in prices of the plots.
The scheme was initiated in 2004 for those employees of the federal government who were near to retirement while a small share of plots in the scheme was also given to the working journalists of the federal capital.
At start, the plots were allotted at very reasonable prices as compared to the market rate on the concept that government employees, at least, should have a house of their own after retirement. But after lapse of over four years, the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) couldn't manage to acquire land for the sector, due to which, cost of the land increased many fold. Now, the Foundation is increasing prices of the plots with the passage of time, which these aged pensioners are finding much hard to pay.
"I can't even pay my utility bills in this deadly price hike in the country", said an aged pensioner pointing to his pension, "How can I pay those sums demanded by the Foundation from time to time", he wailed.
Arif Hussain, another allottee, said that he had booked the smallest plot in the scheme worth Rs 125,000. After paying the said amount, I received a notice from the Foundation to pay additional sum of Rs 140,000 for award of the possession letter, he further said, adding that he paid that sum also to make realise his dream of having a house in the Capital. "Now I have received another notice for paying another sum of Rs 100,000, but where from I manage to pay that", mourned Arif, who is a working journalist.
He like other poor journalists and pensioners have demanded of the Housing Minister to take pity on the poor people and cancel the additional amount. Similarly, allottees of G-13, another housing project of the Foundation are also subjected to sufferings due to the unavailability of basic amenities like water, gas and electricity in the sector. Actually, the allottees have been charged for development expenditures but the Foundation has, so far, provided only the ground infrastructure like roads and sewerage system etc.
The poor owners have given possessions of their plots, in which some have started construction of houses, but they are bearing extra costs for managing water through tankers.
"We started building our house due to the rapid increase in prices of steel and other commodities on daily basis", said an allottee, when asked why he was hurrying and taking so much pain in face of the unavailability of water and electricity.
According to the official statistics, Islamabad faced shortage of 45,000 housing units while the country is facing a total shortage of 6 million housing units to provide adequate shelter for its residents. Moreover, 67 percent of the existing 19 million houses are those built in rural areas, either 'katcha' or semi 'pakka', without the basic amenities of life.