Construction of high-rise buildings in Karachi has been banned by Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) in compliance with the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan. The ban was opposed by builders as different construction projects will then be scrapped in the province. Now the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has come forward to support builders in their demand of lifting the ban from high-rise buildings construction.
FPCCI President Zubair Tufail on Monday said that in order to make Karachi a mega-city, construction of high-rise buildings is a necessity. He said that the metropolitan city needs mega-construction and Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABDP) should be allowed to install their reverse osmosis plants for the construction of projects.
According to some reports, there are currently 80 high-rise residential projects under construction in the province, out of which 85% are in Karachi, 10% in Hyderabad, and the remaining in other cities of Sindh. The ban on high-rise buildings will result in the termination of all the ongoing projects of similar description, causing heavy financial losses to builders.
It is expected that if the ban is not lifted, capital inflow from Karachi will shift towards other cities of the country. Investment of Rs. 600 billion will stop if SBCA does not provide approval of 300 projects that are awaiting its approval.
Tufail said that the construction sector is a major contributor to job creation and also supports 72 different industries. If the ban is remains imposed on the construction of high-rise buildings, about 2 million jobs will also be lost which may aggravate the unemployment situation already prevalent in the country.
Another problem that is being faced is the shortage of houses in Pakistan which currently stands at 12 million. The prices of existing house units will go up due to increased difference in demand and supply of housing units, according to SM Muneer, former chairman of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).
The ban was imposed due to concerns that the buildings are being built without any development of proper infrastructure along with water shortage issues. According to Muneer, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board was the main reason for the ban as the department tried to hide its inefficiencies by saying that there is a water shortage in the city.