LAHORE, May 26: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) is working on the final draft of a summary approved by then chief minister in December 2102 seeking control of private housing schemes in the provincial metropolis through certain amendments to the Punjab Private Housing Schemes and land Sub-Division Rules of 2010.
The summary was moved to then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in September, 2012, by the then LDA director general and was approved subject to submission of amendments required in the rules, Dawn learnt on Sunday.
Officials say the city’s leading civic body wanted to deal with private housing schemes by limiting the role of the City District Government of Lahore (CGDL) and its nine town municipal administrations (TMAs). The authority, in the summary, criticised the CDGL and TMAs for not abiding by Lahore’s master plan in approval of schemes in their territorial and revenue jurisdiction.
The LDA accused TMAs of sanctioning private housing schemes such as Green City, Paragon City, State Life Housing Scheme (phase-II) and Anmol Housing Scheme in violation of the master plan. “Grand Avenue has also been approved by the Nishtar Town in the green area in violation of the plan,” it said.
Praising its own functioning, the LDA claimed to have sanctioned 240 schemes in Lahore in accordance with rules and regulations.
“After promulgation of the Punjab Local Government Ordinance of 2001, 70 and 30 per cent of areas of Lahore fell within CDGL (nine towns) and LDA’s jurisdiction. In the LDA areas, public utility sites have been transferred in the name of LDA whereas in 70 per cent of CDGL’s areas, TMAs have failed to mortgage such sites in lieu of development, causing legal implications,” the summary stated.
The LDA summary also speaks of its professional manpower like 55 town planners, five civil engineers and two law experts whereas TMAs lack urban town planners.
The LDA has a directorate to check and monitor the development work as pledged by the developers. “Recently, the LDA took over the control of 23 schemes where sponsors failed to complete development work in their stipulated time. No TMA showed such efficiency against developers, the summary reads.
It proposed that a single agency (LDA) might be entrusted with the task of approving/processing the entire housing schemes. It also recommended certain amendments to sections 56, 57 and 3 and its various sub-sections of the Punjab Private Housing Schemes and land Sub-Division Rules of 2010 in order to use powers of towns to approve, regulate and taking over the residential schemes.
LDA DG Dr Ijaz Munir said the summary was being made a final draft. He defended the move, saying: “Towns are not following the master plan-2021. The rules are not being followed in green areas of the city where no scheme can be launched. Similarly, towns are not objecting to flaws in drawings and maps of service roads leading to major roads.”
He said the summary allowed the LDA to approve well planned roads in societies and commercial areas of the city. “After the approval of schemes, towns will be responsible for getting schemes’ public utility sites transferred to their names so as to ensure completion of development work by the developers in their respective schemes,” Munir added.
ABSURD Move: The CGDL officials are opposing the summary.
An official privy to the development said CDGL officials were shocked at LDA’s move clipping the role of the CDGL and its towns. “A number of examples prove that the LDA has failed to got completed its own schemes,” he said.
“The LDA means an authority to ensure execution of development works in its controlled areas. But contrary to this, the LDA is playing the role of a property dealer or a developer,” the official said.
He mentioned LDA Avenue-1 scheme on Raiwind Road launched in 2002 and still incomplete leaving thousands of plot owners in a state of shock. He also quoted Gujjarpura (China Scheme) and Mohlanwal schemes where, according to him, the LDA could not accomplish development work till date.
“There are many incidents relating to bogus allotments and record tampering in LDA’s own schemes such as Sabzazar, Johar Town and Gulshan-i-Ravi schemes,” the official said.
He said the LDA should have recommended building capacity of TMAs rather than scrapping their scope of work.
“TMAs consumes over Rs1 billion annually while LDA’s budget stands Rs10 billion,” the official added.