Friends Square in Model Colony

Real estate turns crumbly but residents stand firm

By Jamil Khan | KARACHI

THE people living in the three-storey Friends Square apartment building have been told by the KBCA that they must leave because the structure is unsafe. The problem is that they are all poor and would have no place to go.
“The government is giving Rs5,000 as compensation to the students of Lal Masjid who challenged the law,” said one occupant. “But the government can’t pay attention to people living in risky conditions.”
The state of the ground-plus-two floor building on the 307-square yard plot Number 427, Bostan Raza Society in Model Colony, Malir, is bad. The walls are cracked from the ground to the top and the roof’s plaster has fallen.
“I have been living in this building for the last four years but the owners never spent a single penny on maintenance,” said Azeem Farooqui of flat Number A-3. “The government should at least provide shelter for all 15 families.”
The KBCA had declared the building dangerous some six months ago and asked the civic agencies to cut off the connections. “KESC disconnected their connections but the residents have been using illegal ‘kundas’ in connivance with KESC officials,” Farooqui said. Another resident confirmed that the KESC, SSGC and KWSB are owed hefty bills in service charges. “Some two years ago, the aggravated residents pulled down the KESC meters after they disconnected the electricity,” he said. The tenants now use gas cylinders in their kitchens.
Saeeda has been living in flat No. A-1 for the last 20 years with her children after her husband died in an accident. “The level of brackish water is much higher than that of the surrounding localities which is why the floors are crumbling,” she said, adding that she doesn’t have enough money to move elsewhere if they are evicted because she supports her family by teaching the Quran.
Others have followed the rules by the book. Safia, for example, is the owner of one of the flats, and has a proper gas connection. “We recently purchased this flat for Rs 100,000 and obtained a court order for the SSGC connection because they had been disconnected on the directives of the KBCA,” she said.
-Published in Daily Times | July 06, 2007

~ by jamilkhan on June 16, 2008.

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