The Supreme Court is adamant on demolishing the high-rise Nasla Tower located on one of the busiest thoroughfares in Karachi. Authorities have been scampering to show progress on demolishing the ill-fated building before earning the wrath of the top court.
The demolition of the building, which has been hollowed manually and already shows a decrepit look, has also raised concerns over the fate of similar buildings, supposedly built illegally on state land or encroaching. There is also uncertainty among people that their buildings could be demolished at any time in the future and they can be rendered homeless on court orders.
This has also rattled builders and other constructors who are worried about their housing projects and the parallel system in the country. They claim that it is the government’s responsibility to inspect any discrepancies in residential and commercial projects, but despite getting approval, indiscriminate action is being taken against them. The builders have subsequently stopped work on all projects in the metropolis.
There are over 300 approved construction projects in Karachi and the average cost of each is Rs3 billion. Thus, a massive investment of roughly Rs900 bn is at stake apart from the lost revenue for over 70 sectors such as steel, cement, bricks, and gravel besides providing employment opportunities. This has placed the entire multi-billion construction sector in jeopardy.
The builders need to repose the confidence of the public and investors as they have heavily invested in the housing sector. This cannot be done without the cooperation of the government, which must seriously address their concern. Authorities such as the SBCA – termed the most corrupt department by the Supreme Court – must be taken to task for issuing such permission in violation of laws.
It is the need of the hour that a one-window facility should be set up for the construction sector so that builders and investors don’t run pillar to post to get required documents. The prime minister had laid great importance on the construction sector to revive the economy. The matter is not just of the Nasla Tower or similar buildings but the entire construction sector. This warrants immediate from the government to safeguard investment in this crucial sector.