LAHORE, July 11: The Lahore Develop-ment Authority’s metropolitan wing has been empowered to exclusively deal with affairs related to building control in private housing schemes developed either by the private people or by government departments other than the LDA, it is learnt on Sunday.
Since the LDA’s town planning wing has been dealing with such affairs, the decision to handover private housing schemes’ building control to the metropolitan wing is to avoid certain official bottlenecks in the way of timely action against illegal constructions at dozens of private schemes at the provincial metropolis.
“After the creation of the metropolitan directorate in LDA the officials working here had a mandate of planning things related to the building control alone. And monitoring and execution of any assignment for the implementation of building bylaws at the time of buildings’ constructions and demolition of structures in case of violation was the responsibility of the town planning wing that was already busy in planning and building control affairs of various mega schemes developed by the LDA or those handed over to it by the government in the past,” a senior official explained while talking to Dawn.
The official, who wished not be named, said since a long procedure amid several official bottlenecks relating to development of lawful private schemes, the mushroom growth of illegal schemes and building control in such projects was causing delay in timely approval of maps/drawings/designs of buildings and razing unlawfully-constructed structures under building rules, the LDA administration decided to empower the metropolitan wing to also deal with such affairs, limiting its town planning department to focus only on LDA-owned schemes.
About the on-going crackdown on illegal schemes and buildings constructed there, he said the metropolitan wing launched at least three surveys before commencement of its drive.
“After taking over the Ferozepur Road in 2011 from the City District Government, we started launching surveys of illegal schemes. It was revealed during surveys that several unlawfully developed schemes existed in the city, mainly on Ferozepur Road. “We also came to know that the respective town municipal administrations had too violated the rules in according approval to several residential schemes at various roads,” he said.
The official said during surveys the LDA found that 73 schemes were unlawfully developed in its controlled area, including Ferozepur Road and Multan Road.
He said the LDA had also informed the Lahore DCO to press the respective TMAs to withdraw the approval they had granted earlier to around 10 private housing schemes.
Since the LDA disowned these schemes, it had requested the DCO to help the officials concerned in order to streamline affairs of private schemes, the official disclosed.
“Dealing with such a task has really become a headache for us. The TMA had approved a private housing scheme near Khyaban-e-Jinnah without consulting the LDA in the past. As we didn’t know about this scheme, we launched the project of a road to link Valencia Town and Defence Road with
Khyaban-e-Jinnah in order to facilitate a number of residents.
But to our surprise we found the aforementioned scheme on the way during the survey of road construction. We had to stop the road project because of the construction of several houses in the scheme,” the official deplored.
He claimed that several illegal housing schemes had been dismantled by the LDA on Ferozepur Road and Multan Road during the on-going operation.
About introducing uniformity in various development works in Cantonment areas, the official said that Cantonment officials had also contacted the LDA in order to follow the Lahore’s Master Plan while accomplishing various developmental tasks. He said the metropolitan wing had also focused on various private housing schemes developed by the cooperative and other government departments other than the LDA.
“We have recently taken up the issue of an illegal society developed by the planning and development department. We have also got stopped the practice of selling plots to the public at large there,” the official said.
He claimed the LDA’s move against illegal schemes had alerted the public and they first contacted the LDA’s one-window cell about the status of any scheme before investing there.
He said a land bank was also being established in the LDA to make the public aware of the existence of the total land, schemes, open spaces and buildings, etc, in Lahore.