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October 13, 2018
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Naya Pakistan builders to get legal cover

Top Story

October 13, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The investors and developers who are interested in the Naya Pakistan Housing Project launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan would be given legal protection and full assistance by the Ministry of Law, a senior government official told The News on Friday.

Since it is a public-private partnership project, some prospective investors and developers are wary of future litigation and investigations by the anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which is already probing a similar venture, the Ashiana housing scheme in Lahore, sources said. A senior official of the Ministry of Housing said the developers would be given legal assistance. The law ministry is formulating proposalsto facilitate the investors and the developers.

The ministry has already received about half-a-dozen offers from investors and prospective developers from Pakistan and overseas, a senior official told The News. He said the investment offers have been received from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

At least three groups have proposed several million dollars of investment in the projects, while several others are seeking appointments to present their proposals to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Housing and Works, the official said.

The ministry has also written to the ministries of defence, railways, religious affairs and education to submit details of government land available for the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.

While the response of all the ministries is still awaited, the government is confident that it would have enough land available across the country to build five million houses, as per the prime minister’s announcement.

Prime Minister Imran Khan launched Naya Pakistan Housing Project on Tuesday. Under the project, five million houses would be provided to low-income people across Pakistan. Initially, the pilot project would be launched in seven cities, including Faisalabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Dera Ismail Khan, Islamabad, Gilgit and Muzaffarabad.

A developer who visited the housing ministry to present his proposal spoke to The News about his plan. “I have brought proposal to build 10,000 small houses costing Rs0.7-1.7 million per unit, according to their sizes,” said Major (retd) Tahir Ashraf. He said a thre- marla house comprising one bedroom would cost about Rs0.7 million, while a five-marla house with two bedrooms would cost Rs1.7 million.

However, he said the prices did not include public amenities, like roads and sewerage pipes, which would cost another Rs0.3 million. The developer said he had previous experience of building 2,000 houses for earthquake affectees with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s chariable foundation.

However, he also expressed some apprehensions about the project. “Normally, government-sponsored housing projects are unsuccessful as these colonies are developed in areas where residents have no real connection. The houses should be built in areas where residents have reasons to stay, like their businesses, jobs or children’s education are available nearby,” he said.

He gave the example of housing units built for flood-affectees in Muzaffargarh with the assistance of Turkey. “These houses could not attract affectees, as they had no reason to stay in that far-flung area,” he said, so most of the affectees sold the houses and moved to their home areas. He said the government should construct small colonies each comprising about 200 houses to make the Naya Pakistan Housing Project successful.

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