ISLAMABAD: A large number of government employees face inordinate delays in obtaining their residential plots, as the Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA) and Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation (PHAF) grapple with significant setbacks in their housing projects.
A steering committee comprising seven secretaries was formed by the caretaker prime minister in September this year in response to the chronic delays affecting the housing schemes. But the issue still persists.
The FGEHA’s housing project ‘Green Enclave-I’ initiated in Bhara Kahu in 2009 has left numerous federal government employees and journalists in limbo. The project launched on a ‘first come first serve’ basis, comprises 3,282 plots. Many retirees have passed away without being able to realise their dream of possessing a plot.
Similarly, ‘Green Enclave-II’ later renamed Sky Garden Housing Scheme is also facing delays, causing frustration among the 29,427 registered government employees waiting for possession.
Official acknowledges setbacks, says contractors being monitored for enforcement of deadlines
Muhammad Afzal Awan, a registered member of the FGEHA, expressed disappointment, stating, “I have been waiting for the allotment of my plot since 2011…the housing schemes of the FGEHA are failing projects, and the authority seems to be profiting at the expense of poor employees without providing the promised shelter.”
Another housing initiative of the FGEHA, F-14/15, approved in 2015 for registered government employees based on age-wise seniority, has faced a similar situation. The project, comprising 6,746 plots, has made little progress.
The Park Road Housing Scheme in villages Tamma and Morian, initiated following a Supreme Court order in 2015, involving 4,781 plots, has also suffered delays.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Housing Authority’s housing apartments project in Sector I-12/1 progresses at a snail’s pace, with 3,200 units in total.
Moreover, the Capital Development Authority’s housing projects, particularly in Sector I-12, have been marred by extreme delays. Most allottees, hailing from the lower middle class, have waited for over three decades for possession of their plots.
Khumar Gul, an allottee in Sector I-12, lamented, “Many allottees have died waiting for the completion of their dream for their own house. They wanted to live under a roof of their own…but their dream could not mature till death.”
Tahir Mahmood, another allottee from Sector I-12, compared these housing projects with the private sector schemes that “efficiently provide possession to plot owners within a couple of years”. He further said, “…the employees have invested their hard-earned money in the FGEHA and CDA projects, they now find themselves unable to explore opportunities in private housing societies.”
“The stark contrast between private and government housing schemes raises questions about the management and transparency of these crucial housing projects,” he said.
FGEHA Director Admin Faiz Umer Sial told Dawn that it was correct that the different projects of the authority were stalled in the past, but incumbent Director General Muhammad Zafar Iqbal has taken strict notice of the delay in projects and all stakeholders have been directed to expedite the development work. “He has been giving short targets of 10 to 15 days to the contractors to ensure deadlines are not missed,” he said.
In response to a question about delays in projects due to non-payment to the contractor, Mr Umer denied the impression that development work was in full swing. “The fact is that there were issues between the company, which has started a joint venture with authority, and the contractor. However, issues have been streamlined and new parties have been engaged due to which development work has been started again,” he said.
Another official of the FGEHA, wishing not to be named, said that DG Zafar Iqbal was frequently holding meetings on the development of Green Enclave, G-14, F-14, and other sectors due to which the situation has improved.
“Development work of Green Enclave-II is going on at full pace. As far as Phase-I is concerned, we have identified 814 plots of which possession can be given to the allottees but a final decision is yet to be made,” the official added.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023