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During the last 15 days, two meetings were held separately by the city district and divisional administrations on the dangerous buildings and the ways to repair, maintain or demolish them to avoid any untoward incident in the city.

Each year, particularly before start of the monsoon, the officials hold meetings, review the plans and try to resolve such issues but with no apparent satisfactory results.

Until a decade ago, there were about 650 dangerous residential and commercial buildings in Lahore. With the passage of time, number of such premises decreased to over 350. Since the result is yet to appear a satisfactory one, the city administration has at least managed in getting a policy or action plan devised in this regard.

Currently, there are two plans being implemented for the dangerous buildings in the Walled City and the new localities of the provincial metropolis. Under the first plan, the dangerous buildings have been divided into three categories—A, B and C, describing the most dangerous, dangerous and less dangerous buildings. Those in category A must be demolished. Buildings falling in category B require heavy repair and needs to be vacated and category C means the buildings require minor repair and there is no need to vacate them.

The government, according to the officials, also helps the residents repair their buildings.

“This privilege is for those who cannot afford the repair work of their houses/premises. Under this, the deserving may submit an application to the district coordination officer (DCO) who is authorised to recommend financial assistance for such applicants,” says a spokesman for the city administration. He said there were 444 dangerous buildings in Lahore a couple of months ago. Many of them were demolished, repaired or maintained.

Under the second plan, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has been entrusted with the task to repair, maintain and restore dangerous buildings, existing within the territorial limits of Walled City. The government has pledged to provide Rs100m to the WCLA for restoration of such buildings in five phases. For each phase, the government would release Rs20m to the authority.

According to WCLA, there are 72 dangerous buildings in the Walled City that require repair and maintenance.

The city administration, WCLA, tehsil municipal administrations (TMAs) and the Lahore Development Authority are required to coordinate with each other on implementing plans regarding the dangerous buildings.

A meeting was held last week on the pilot project of model/modern pushcarts distribution among the roadside vendors.

Under the project, about 100 model pushcarts have been distributed so far among the roadside vendors of Karim Block Market (Iqbal Town), Lal Pul (Mughalpura) and some other markets of the city.

The participants in the meeting were of the view that there should be an effective monitoring of the roadside vendors who were given pushcarts under financial assistance of Akhuwat.

“Under monitoring mechanism of the project, the participants recommended to visit the designated/assigned location of the vendors, sale of food items as pledged, basic hygiene standards, food quality, price etc,” an official, privy to the meeting said. He said a checklist had also been prepared and handed over to the project monitors. He said the government had also allowed replicating the project in adjoining districts of Lahore. –(Khalidpak284@yahoo.com)

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2016