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Compensate Nasla Tower residents before demolition: Senate committee

Money for demolition to be taken from building owner: court

SAMAA | - Posted: Oct 28, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Oct 28, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

File Photo: Online

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The final act in the demolition of the Nasla Tower has begun. The residents of approximately 55 flats in the building have left their homes. According to the Supreme Court's orders, the tower has to be taken down through a controlled explosion. While the Sindh government is bewildered about how that will happen, it's pertinent to mention that the compensation amount promised to the evacuees has not yet been paid. On Thursday, Rukhsana Zuberi, a member of the Senate's Standing Committee on Planning Development and Special Initiatives, demanded that the Sindh government immediately pay the residents the money promised to them in compensation. Earlier, the top court promised the evacuees that they will be paid the market value of the flats within three months of the demolition. "These are over 50 families. They are being thrown on the streets. What will they do? Where will they go?" Zuberi asked. "If you're not paying them, at least give them a substitute house to live in." Most of the residents left the doomed Nasla Tower in Karachi on Tuesday as authorities cut the utility connections and prepared to take down the building in a controlled blast to implement orders from the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Photos: Online pic.twitter.com/6OvOsIi6j3— Samaa English (@SamaaEnglish) October 27, 2021 The committee added that President Arif Alvi should use his constitutional powers to find a solution to the problem. On Monday, the top court issued orders for the demolition of the tower within a week. Following this, on October 26, gas, water, and electricity connections of the building were cut off. Nasla Tower, a 15-storey residential building at the intersection of Shahrah-e-Faisal and Sharah-e-Quaideen, was declared illegal in June 2021. Court issues written orders On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued a written verdict in the Nasla Tower case. "Use controlled modern devices for the demolition. See how it's done in other countries across the world," it stated. The building should be taken down within a week after October 27 but make sure no other building or structures adjacent to it are damaged. The court added that the cost of demolishing Nasla Tower should be borne from the building's owner. "If the owner refuses to pay, the land will be sold by the commissioner of Karachi." Photo: Nasla Tower advertisement/Samaa Digital The Karachi commissioner has, on the other hand, published an offer of interest in a leading newspaper about demolishing the tower in the safest and quickest manner. Preference will be given to companies with expertise in demolishing buildings through controlled implosion, it stated. Offers “may be submitted in the Karachi Commissioner Office within three days of this publication”. The reality is, however, different. SAMAA Digital's Sohail Khan reported that the Sindh government does not have the required expertise and equipment for demolishing Nasla Tower via a controlled implosion blast. A controlled detonation “may collapse the Nursery Bridge, adjacent buildings and water and other utility pipelines”. It was not possible “because the building is located in a densely populated area with a heavy traffic flow”. The case On June 16, the apex court declared Nasla Tower was constructed on encroached land. It ruled that there is “no denial” that the plot was expanded illegally. The original plot was 780 square yards but the tower was built on 1,044 square yards. “A service road has been encroached on and the tower exists on an area in excess of what was originally leased,” it added. Consequently, the tower’s builder and residents separately filed review petitions to stop the authorities from demolishing it. At a hearing on September 23, the petitioners’ lawyer argued that the construction was allowed despite lease cancellations, adding that in these circumstances the residents are not at fault. Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan replied that it was the responsibility of the residents to check the legality of the apartments before they bought them. “Are you not aware of the forgery that takes place in the city? How can you buy a house without inspection?” Each apartment at Nasla Tower was worth around Rs3 million before the court declared the building illegal.
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The final act in the demolition of the Nasla Tower has begun. The residents of approximately 55 flats in the building have left their homes. According to the Supreme Court’s orders, the tower has to be taken down through a controlled explosion. While the Sindh government is bewildered about how that will happen, it’s pertinent to mention that the compensation amount promised to the evacuees has not yet been paid.

On Thursday, Rukhsana Zuberi, a member of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Planning Development and Special Initiatives, demanded that the Sindh government immediately pay the residents the money promised to them in compensation.

Earlier, the top court promised the evacuees that they will be paid the market value of the flats within three months of the demolition.

“These are over 50 families. They are being thrown on the streets. What will they do? Where will they go?” Zuberi asked. “If you’re not paying them, at least give them a substitute house to live in.”

The committee added that President Arif Alvi should use his constitutional powers to find a solution to the problem.

On Monday, the top court issued orders for the demolition of the tower within a week. Following this, on October 26, gas, water, and electricity connections of the building were cut off.

Nasla Tower, a 15-storey residential building at the intersection of Shahrah-e-Faisal and Sharah-e-Quaideen, was declared illegal in June 2021.

Court issues written orders

On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued a written verdict in the Nasla Tower case. “Use controlled modern devices for the demolition. See how it’s done in other countries across the world,” it stated.

The building should be taken down within a week after October 27 but make sure no other building or structures adjacent to it are damaged. The court added that the cost of demolishing Nasla Tower should be borne from the building’s owner.

“If the owner refuses to pay, the land will be sold by the commissioner of Karachi.”

Photo: Nasla Tower advertisement/Samaa Digital

The Karachi commissioner has, on the other hand, published an offer of interest in a leading newspaper about demolishing the tower in the safest and quickest manner. Preference will be given to companies with expertise in demolishing buildings through controlled implosion, it stated.

Offers “may be submitted in the Karachi Commissioner Office within three days of this publication”.

The reality is, however, different. SAMAA Digital’s Sohail Khan reported that the Sindh government does not have the required expertise and equipment for demolishing Nasla Tower via a controlled implosion blast.

A controlled detonation “may collapse the Nursery Bridge, adjacent buildings and water and other utility pipelines”. It was not possible “because the building is located in a densely populated area with a heavy traffic flow”.

The case

On June 16, the apex court declared Nasla Tower was constructed on encroached land. It ruled that there is “no denial” that the plot was expanded illegally. The original plot was 780 square yards but the tower was built on 1,044 square yards.

“A service road has been encroached on and the tower exists on an area in excess of what was originally leased,” it added.

Consequently, the tower’s builder and residents separately filed review petitions to stop the authorities from demolishing it.

At a hearing on September 23, the petitioners’ lawyer argued that the construction was allowed despite lease cancellations, adding that in these circumstances the residents are not at fault.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan replied that it was the responsibility of the residents to check the legality of the apartments before they bought them. “Are you not aware of the forgery that takes place in the city? How can you buy a house without inspection?”

Each apartment at Nasla Tower was worth around Rs3 million before the court declared the building illegal.

 
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