KARACHI: Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) Director General Shamsuddin Soomro, after listening to the problems and grievances being faced by the business community in dealing with SBCA matters, announced to deploy an SBCA official at the Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) once in two weeks so that the KCCI members could get their problems resolved at a faster pace.
The announcement was made by DG SBCA at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) which was attended by Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala, President KCCI Shariq Vohra, Senior Vice President Saqib Goodluck, Vice President Shamsul Islam Khan, Chairman KCCI’s Subcommittee for Real Estate & Construction Altaf Tai, Former President KCCI Abdullah Zaki and others.
While nominating SBCA Director for holding meetings at KCCI once in two weeks, DG SBCA appreciated the valuable inputs provided by KCCI and assured to give full support and deliver his best as per mandate. “Although there are certain limitations and hurdles but I will try to do whatever is best for this city.” He said that the deployment of SBCA official at KCCI would certainly lead to expediting the cases which have been pending at SBCA for review and approvals.
Shamsuddin Soomro further pointed out that in order to review the progress of Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme and also SBCA’s performance, two meetings are held every week, of which the first one is held on every Tuesday with Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Lt. General (R) Anwar Ali Haider while the other is presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan on almost every Thursday hence, the SBCA and its DG is subjected to very close surveillance.
“Within a period of hardly five months, 45 cases of Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme were approved whereas about 65 cases have been approved so far since the PM announced the scheme. A timeframe has been defined to process cases of this scheme for which the Prime Minister has allowed 60 days once the application is received and construction permit is granted but we have been able to do it within 45 days”, he added.
“Efforts are being made to improve working environment at SBCA which is not the same as it had been in the past”, he claimed, adding that strict action was being taken against any wrongdoing which can be gauged from the fact that around 350 SBCA officials are currently undergoing disciplinary action. “My tenure is being considered as martial law at SBCA where many officials find themselves getting suffocated as they are not use to doing the kind of work free of cost which I compel them to do.”
He further informed that more than 70 percent of the illegal constructions in the city have stopped while corruption at SBCA has also gone down. “When I assumed charge, a total of 490 sites having illegal floors existed in the city, of which 350 sites have been demolished within four to five months which is remarkable.
The number of demolitions, which remained confined to just one to two each day, has also been raised to 10 to 12 per day despite capacity constraints. Although the chief minister desires 100 demolitions per day but the available resources at SBCA only allow 10 to 15 demolition per day.”
BMG Chairman Zubair Motiwala, while referring to Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme, stressed the need to define a precise timeframe for making low-cost housing scheme successful. “All the documentation and approvals must be completed within 15 days otherwise the relevant officers should be suspended”, he added.
In order to improve the performance of SBCA and minimize the grievances being faced by the business community, he requested DG SBCA to give KCCI representation in various committees being formed at the SBCA which creates a strong liaison and go in favor of SBCA. He also asked to create a SBCA counter at KCCI where an official should be available for two to three hours to resolve the issues being faced by the business community.
Earlier, KCCI PresidenShariq Vohra, in his welcome address, pointed out that due to lack of a master plan for Karachi, mushroom and chaotic construction took place, making a big mess all over Karachi which requires attention. He also underscored the need to take the Karachi Chamber on board so that this Chamber could share its wisdom with SBCA which would certainly go in favor of SBCA and help in building a worthy Karachi.
He also expressed deep concerns over unbridled corruption and the misuse of power by SBCA officials who have been constantly creating problems for businessmen associated with the construction sector with an only intention to gain personal benefits.
“Because of massive corruption, the required approvals from SBCA are usually delayed for a year and even more that affects the cost of the project due to rising prices of raw materials including steel bars and cement. This makes them costlier for the public and beyond their reach. Hence, DG SBCA must take concrete steps to deal with this issue and ensure speedy processing and approvals of cases by the SBCA”, he added.