File Photo: Egypt's Planning minister Hala El-Saeed (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Egypt has opened a centre to monitor building violations and encroachments on agricultural land through satellite technology, a statement by the planning and economic development ministry said on Saturday, as the country continues to press a zero-tolerance policy on violations.
Planning and Economic Development Minister Hala El-Said said the centre, which will be a ministry affiliate, aims to preserve the state’s rights by monitoring building violations nationwide.
The centre will also follow up on government projects and investments by facilitating access to geographical data by government bodies.
The centre has four central units, including a unit for using satellite imaging to help reduce government spending and another unit that monitors new construction to ensure its legality.
Other units include a specialised unit that provides accurate spatial information to help direct development towards the neediest places and one that follows up on the implementation of national projects.
The announcement comes as Egypt continues to crackdown on building violators to meet a six-month deadline set by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to end violations in the country.
Egypt has seen a significant rise in illegal buildings amid the security vacuum that followed the 2011 uprising. Countless people started constructing multi-storey buildings without acquiring the necessary permits or complying with safety standards.
A portion of Egypt's 100 million citizens live in clusters of red-brick buildings and informal settlements.
Earlier this month, El-Sisi asked the government to finalise any outstanding issues related to settling violations, reiterating the government’s zero tolerance policy on violations.
He said that construction will be banned in some neighbourhoods by the end of the six-month period.
Egypt has already banned residential construction in some neighbourhoods in Cairo and Giza governorates and areas that have reached their maximum population density.
According to a 2018 report by the local development ministry, Egypt registered 2 million building violations between 2000 and 2017.
In April, the cabinet said building violations would be referred to military prosecutors under the current emergency law.