ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Housing Authority is all set to undertake the daunting task of meeting country’s need in housing sector and will leave no stone unturned to fulfill the pledges made by the Prime Minister to construct one million houses yearly for tackling the problem, said Managing Director of PHA Sami-ul-Haq Khilji while talking to TheNation.
He said that PHA was ready to get one million houses constructed yearly according to the directives of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani. “PHA believes in low cost without compromising on quality and standard”, he said, adding that ‘Apna Ghar Scheme’ of PHA was a glaring example of its unparalleled performance in the sector of housing construction.
He emphasised on environment-friendly construction saying, “PHA has first time introduced ‘green development’ concept in the country that include building design, energy efficient housing, solid waste management, water conservation and tree plantation plus biodiversity conservation.”
Khilgi noted that PHA, keeping water crisis of the country in mind, had planned to construct housing schemes in which there would be rainwater harvesting through roof top rainwater collection and run off water conservation. “In these housing schemes, we will establish water recycling and treatment plants through which the needs of the community will be met”, he added. He said that PHA housing schemes would comprise 40 percent open spaces with indigenous plants to conserve ecosystem. Highlighting the achievements of Pakistan Housing Authority, he said that the authority had constructed thousands of housing units since 1999 for low-income people of the country and had a vast experience of undertaking the challenging tasks.
The MD underlined the need of energy conservation and said that the PHA was designing energy efficient houses. “By building’s orientation, mud plaster, asphalt roll roofing, appropriate whitewash, maximum ventilators, false ceiling etc we can save energy”, he argued. Regarding government’s policy towards housing sector, he said that government had declared housing and construction as an industry to provide incentives to the developers, investors and contractors. “To give boost to the construction industry the government is planning to exempt few construction equipment from import duty”, he added.
He said that the PM’s announced programme for building one million yearly houses in the country was a mega project with the cost of more than Rs 2,500 billion for the next five years (2008-2013). “It will not only promote economic activities, as more than 40 sick industries will be revived by it, but also provide employment opportunities to the skilled and unskilled human resource of Pakistan”, he maintained.
The Managing Director said that the basic concept regarding planning parameters was to develop green habitats with complete and comprehensive communities having all amenities and infrastructure. “PHA, under the directives of government, is providing houses to government servants on low cost and easy instalments”, he said.
He stressed public-private partnership for the speedy growth of housing and construction industry. “The government will encourage foreign investors to invest in this sector”, he said and added, “The government has also asked industrialists to construct housing societies for their employees.”
He said that there was a striking need of 7.6 million houses in Pakistan. “In the houses being constructed by PHA, environment-friendly material is being used. The PHA believes in conventional construction with international up-to-date standards”, the MD observed. He said that houses would be constructed in all provincial capitals and federal capital of the country. On land about the proposed housing projects, Khilji said that houses might be constructed on state land or the land provided by the state free of charges or at minimum price.
Source: The Nation, 21/4/2008