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Islamabad: Capital’s housing shortage becoming worse

ISLAMABAD: The shortage of houses has aggravated in the capital because new residential units have not been built for long.

A, B, C and D type flats have been built for government employees in different residential sectors. Since the demand for residence is growing, the government employees to whom the flats have been allotted used to sublet one or two rooms as a matter of routine.

Over the years, this practice had been going on unhindered because of a complicated allotment procedure and unavailability of flats, government officials told Daily Times on Saturday.

They said government employees, especially low-paid, had no other option but to share these residential flats with others.

According to rules, a government employee is not given accommodation allowance, 45 percent of basic salary, and has to pay five percent of his basic salary as maintenance allowance after allotment of official residence.

Property dealers without offices: Sometimes, the whole flats are rented out. Allottees told Daily Times that B and C type flats, which have two rooms, were rented out for Rs 8,000 each, while a D type flat, which has three rooms, was rented out for Rs 16,000.

Rent for a single room is Rs 4,000 per month. It has been learnt that some government officials and jobless people are engaged in the business of subletting these flats.

These ‘property dealers’ have no proper offices and house-seekers contact them on a hotel or a barbershop.

It has been witnessed that some allottees had built extra rooms illegally, as the CDA bylaws do not allow encroachments.

Plight of tenants: “I am paying Rs 4,000 for a room in E type flat at Karachi Company, and share washroom and kitchen with two other families,” Chaudhry Mansha, a tenant, said.

Mansha said it was very difficult to share bathroom and kitchen with others.

“I left a flat recently because my wife was uncomfortable with other families, whom we shared kitchen and bathroom with,” he said.

He said disputes were caused between the families that shared flats, frequently.

“We came from rural areas so we have had guests frequently, that is a source of dispute with those we share the flat. If the number of guests increase, it means 15 people are sharing a bathroom and a kitchen at a time,” Mansha said.

Dilshad Aman, an allottee of a flat in Sector G-6, said people sublet flats because it was hard to make ends meet.

According to CDA officials, the capital is facing a shortage of 40,000 housing units at present, which has resulted into increase in property price and rent.

The reasons for shortage of houses is prolonged development work on sectors D-12, G-12, I-14 and I-16. “Development of these sectors started over 10 years ago,” said an official.

Although CDA planned new sectors including C-13, 14, 15, 16, D-13, F-13, 14, E-13, I-17 and H-16 last year, work on the already announced sectors is yet to gather pace.

Source: Daily Times

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