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Students Protest CDA Action Against Private Hostel

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ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) move to seal student hostels has caused unrest among university students in the federal capital.

The CDA, which has not implemented its by-laws in markets in G-7 near its headquarters, attempted to seal a student hostel in E-11 on Wednesday.

Students living in the hostel protested against the CDA’s high-handedness, and said that the authority had initiated a crackdown on hostels in the capital city where thousands of students have been living due to unavailability of accommodation on university campuses.

The CDA could not continue its operation due to the students’ protest, but the authority gave the hostel owner until Sunday to bring the property out of nonconforming use.

According to CDA rules and regulations, hostels are not permitted to operate in residential areas. Students said that the authority should adopt a soft approach towards such hostels by keeping the best interests of the students in mind. According to CDA sources, the authority has also sealed two hostels in G-9 in the last week.

Many public and private sector universities in the federal capital do not have residential accommodation for their students, who are left with no choice but to live in private hotels.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is responsible for regulating universities, and it is its duty to investigate why universities enroll students in the absence of living facilities.

Meanwhile, CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali said, “As per our rules and regulations, hostels cannot be run in residential areas. It is nonconforming use. As far as the hostel in E-11 is concerned, we tried to seal it the other day but because of the students’ protest we gave the owner three days to end the nonconforming use of the building.”

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CDA officials, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the authority should first focus on big violations instead of making the lives of students miserable.

They said that markets in G-7, where the CDA offices are located, have been violating its by-laws openly without facing any action.

“Look at the class three shopping centre right in front of CDA headquarters,” said a CDA official. “According to the city’s master plan, this market is supposed to provide daily use items to people living in the neighbourhood. But the entire market has been converted into a furniture market, while the industrial and trade centre in G-7 near the Urdu university has been converted into automobile workshops,” he added.

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