RAWALPINDI: Owing to the non-implementation of the law, illegal housing societies and businesses have seen mushroom growth in the Rawalpindi division over the years. Around 264 housing societies are operating illegally in the jurisdiction of the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA). Though the regulator has identified the illegal housing schemes, it has failed to initiate legal action against the illegal business.

These housing societies have popped up under the very nose of the RDA, which has failed to implement the law which calls for three years imprisonment and an Rs0.5 million fine against unauthorized and illegal housing schemes. Interestingly, the RDA resorts to issuing notices and registration of FIRs only after illegal housing societies start operation with full electricity and gas connections. These housing societies have got all utility facilities including gas and electricity, which they get after greasing the palms officials in these service providers.

The sale and purchase of residential and commercial plots and easy provision of utility connections are also major reasons behind the mushroom growth of illegal housing projects in RDA-controlled areas. Though these housing schemes do business worth millions of rupees, seldom do they share their revenue with the RDA, which has virtually surrendered to powerful owners of these schemes, who have ridiculed the law.

These illegal housing schemes are rampant in Rawalpindi, Gujjar Khan, Taxila, Murree and Kotli Sattian, where people have purchased residential and commercial plots at exorbitant prices. The continuous business has been encouraging other business persons to start more and more housing schemes with no obstruction from the regulatory body, which only informs customers that certain housing scheme was not registered.

On the other hand, RDA does not have the support to take full legal action against unauthorized housing schemes in its jurisdiction. A total of 264 illegal housing schemes are operating in the RDA jurisdiction. Only 62 legal housing schemes exist in the RDA jurisdiction while 60 housing schemes are under process for approval.

Of the total 136 housing schemes in Rawalpindi tehsil, 47 are legal, 19 are under process for approval while 80 are illegal. In Murree, there are four legal housing schemes, eight are under process for approval and 49 are illegal.