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DHA may revisit plot prices disparity in future

KARACHI, Feb 22: The Defence Housing Authority may look into the issue of disparity in prices of residential plots offered to ex-servicemen and the general public in its new residential-cum-commercial project, which is being developed on a huge piece of land acquired from the Sindh government in the eastern zone of Karachi along the Super Highway.

“The DHA will consider narrowing the disparity in prices of plots to be sold in future,” said Corps Commander Lt-Gen Mohammad Zahirul Islam, who is also the DHA Karachi executive board president, while responding to the questions of journalists after a groundbreaking ceremony of the DHA City Karachi (DCK) project on Wednesday.

Planned over 11,600 acres, the DCK has now been notified as a satellite town of the Cantonment Board Clifton.The corps commander said that the DHA would consider a review of the prices to ease financial implications on the general public when the next phase of the residential plot booking opened at the DCK.

He said that after the completion of the master plan and the groundbreaking, he was confident that the DHA administration and consultants would honour the plan and infrastructural facilities promised while working within the stipulated timeframe. He expressed the hope that the DCK would become liveable by 2015-16 after the completion of the short-term plan, which would be followed by balloting of plots.

He said the authorities concerned were being pursued for an early implementation of the Malir Expressway project — a 47.6-kilometre highway running along the banks of the Malir River from the Superhighway to the coast — which, among other things, would also shorten the distance between the city centre and the DCK.

Earlier, Lt-Gen Islam in his speech at the ceremony said that the actual construction work of the “immediate action plan” project consisting of 13 schemes would be completed within one year at an estimated cost of Rs1 billion.

DHA Karachi Administrator Brig Aamer Raza Qureshi told the journalists that the DHA being the developers of houses for defence personnel had the obligation of giving maximum facilities and privileges to the defenders. But as told by the corps commander, the DHA would further consider transferring benefits to the general public as well, he said, adding that for
the first time people had an opportunity to directly apply in a DHA project.

He said that half the earmarked residential plots had already been booked and booking for 50 per cent of the remaining plots would open in 2016.

The DHA aimed at developing a new city on the outskirts of Karachi in the shape of a sustainable DCK and it was making efforts to get some more land for the project from the government, he said.

Brig Qureshi said that work on the construction of the DCK boundary wall, entrance gate, security towers, arterial roads, composite offices and accommodation complex as well as the DCK under an immediate development programme starting forthwith would be completed within one year.

He said that a significant feature of the DCK project was the unique security of the township with two tiers of physical security in the form of outer and sector boundary walls in addition to a full electronic surveillance of the entire project area.

Briefing further about the DCK, its project director, retired brigadier Mohammad Rafique, and the consultant, Arif Osmani, said that the entire city comprised 16 sectors, while work on the development of five residential sectors under the short-term plan had been started with the mobilisation of contractors.

About 42 million gallons of drinking water would be needed by the year 2030 when the project would be fully developed, the project director and consultant said.

They added the DCK for its water needs till 2015-16 would rely on the exploration of underground water. Work was under way in this regard, they said.

For the project’s electricity need of around 500 megawatts, options of alternative energy such as windmills and solar energy panels as well as independent power generation through conventional methods were very much on the cards, they said.

Short-term projects (till 2015-16) included development of roads and infrastructure works along with amenities like schools, markets, parks, healthcare centres, the project director said. He added that plot owners after about five years would be able to start constructing their houses in the beautiful, picturesque and serene setting of the DCK.

Replying to a question, Mr Rafiq said that none of the natural lakes or river bed or flora and fauna available in the project area would be disturbed. He added that the project would also be evaluated by the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency.

He said balloting for the allocation of specific plots to the 2010 allottees in five residential sectors would be held in a month or so.

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