PM advises to formulate building standard on the pattern of Dubai, Hong Kong and New York
Sohail Iqbal Bhatti
ISLAMABAD – Owing to no action despite federal cabinet’s decision regarding high-rise building, the auction price of Services International Hotel Lahore has remained low to Rs 1 billion and 95 crore and Prime Minister Imran Khan advised to formulate standard regarding height of the high-rise building located near airports.
According to sources, PM has advised the authorities concerned to study the building standards of Dubai, Hong Kong and New York and set standards for high-rise buildings which are located 15 kilometer away from the airports of the country.
Sources said that a high-level ministerial committee is to formulate recommendations for removal of restrictions on construction of high-rise buildings in the country on the pattern of Dubai, Hong Kong and New York. Similarly, a committee constituted on August 9, 2019 has been expanded to examine if the notified restrictions were in accordance with international standards.
As per sources, during discussion in Cabinet on September 30, 2021, Prime Minister Imran Khan pointed out that it had been brought to his knowledge that despite the Cabinet’s decision to dispense with the requirement of NOC from CAA and PAF, the practice was still in vogue.
The visual illustration of Civil Aviation Rule - 6g (Obstacle Limitation surface) was also presented. It was highlighted that the 4 km area surrounding the runway was called “Inner Horizontal” which had the building height restriction of 147 ft. The 2km surrounding the Inner Horizontal was called ‘Conical’, with height limitation of 147ft to 476ft depending on the distance from runway and the 9 km area beyond the conical and 15 km from the runway, was outer horizontal, with height restriction of 492ft. The Services International Hotel, Lahore, was located in the conical area and as per the formula, the height restriction of 245ft was determined.
After detailed discussion, the Cabinet decided that the Committee constituted on August 9, 2021 with the addition of Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Minister for Science & Technology and Special Assistant to the prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination, after taking input of relevant stakeholders (builders, developers, Ministry of Defence, PAF etc) present to the Cabinet a report/recommendation about: (i) removing impediments in shifting from NOC regime to compliance regime in matter of Aviation laws/rules in this regard;(ii) identifying and rectifying problems faced by developers/builders in this regard;(iii) reviewing international standards, while taking into account the examples of Hong Kong, Dubai and New York. Similarly, Aviation Division would provide Secretariat support to the Committee and Omar Ayub Khan, the then Minister for Power and now Minister for Economic Affairs shall continue as the member of the Committee;(iv) Ministry of Defence would submit a report on measures proposed/underway/taken to encourage high rises in Cantonment limits;(v) Ministry of Housing would submit a report after getting inputs from Provincial Governments on height restrictions in cities/ towns with analysis of these restrictions and what measures can the provincial governments take to encourage high rises with a spirit to reduce horizontal expansion and pressure on conversion of agricultural/farming land as such unplanned and rapid conversion is a threat to food security of the country;(vi) Cabinet acceded to the request of Secretary Aviation Division and directed him to present the report on “Aviation Policy its implementation status, highlighting any deviations (if made) and the reasons thereof” within two weeks, said sources.