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Aproposal is under study seeking changes to the master plan of Lahore and its adjoining districts of Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana following the recent trend of growth in industrialisation in and around the Punjab capital.

The proposal had been submitted by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) that continues to hold public debates, hearings and meetings to give a final shape to the master plan.

The LCCI said it floated the proposal keeping in view the potential of further industrialisation due to enhanced economic cooperation between Pakistan and China so that the LDA could expand the industrial zoning of Lahore division.

According to the proposal, the LCCI suggested 5,000 metres of land along both sides of Lahore’s major roads be declared industrial corridor. The proposed industrial zones should be notified for Lahore-Raiwind road, Manga-Raiwind road, Kahna Katcha road, Sundar-Raiwind road, Raiwind-Laliani road, Lahore-Multan road up to Pattoki, Ring Road, Bund Road, Lahore-Kasur road, Hadiara Drain Ferozepur Road, Rohi Nullah Road, Rohi Nullah Bypass, Ali Akbar Road, Bhogiwala Road, Lahore-Sheikhupura-Faisalabad road, Sheikhupura-Muridke road, Sheikhupura-Sharaqpur road, Lahore-Jaranwala road, Nankana Road, Lahore-Shahdara road, G.T. Road up to Gujranwala, Kala Khatai Road, Kot Arein Jia Bagga Road, Allahabad-Chunian road, Sue-i-Asal Road up to Mir Mohammad via Khurpa Chak, Deepalpur Road, Raiwind-Kasur road via Raja Jhang and Kattar Bund Road.

The proposal also sought exemption from payment of commercialisation fee for existing industrial units along these major roads. New industrial zones, estates and clusters should be established away from densely populated residential areas, especially alongside motorway or major roads to accommodate relocation of industry from residential areas.

It also claims that the cost of land in these industrial zones or estates is substantially lower than that in urban areas and they will have better environmental conditions such as wastewater treatment plants. Industrial parks should be established in phases and up to 500 acres in Lahore and adjoining districts in five years.

On the issue of proposed industrialisation and its possible environmental impacts, the LDA and environment department have already conducted public hearings involving all stakeholders to suggest what the government should do to expand Lahore amid industrialisation. In a public hearing held in January, representatives of industrialists and developers had given various suggestions.

Akbar Sheikh, chairman of the Zamin Group, had urged the LDA to also include in the plan additional area for industrial expansion.

“Existing zone of industry (about 15,000 units) has been indicated but it doesn’t have the information about the newly proposed additional area for the new industrial units. Officials should also mention this in the plan for the knowledge of the business community,” he had said.

Similarly, civil society representative Lahore Conservation Society Information Secretary Dr Ajaz Anwar had pointed out adverse environmental impacts of the two nullahs near Muridke and Sheikhupura. He had further sought keeping the cities green and avoiding unnecessary urban and industrial growth.

LDA’s Chief Metropolitan Planner (CMP) Waheed Butt said it was decided in a recent meeting that the proposed industrialisation in the master plan will be put on hold keeping in view the LCCI’s proposal regarding expansion of new industry corridors.

“Except the proposed expansion of the industrial zones, the other matters related to housing, commercial and development schemes as mentioned in the plan will be placed for approval before the authority meeting after getting approvals from the environment department and the scrutiny committee under the law,” Butt told Dawn.

He said this was decided to address concerns of industrialists and other stakeholders.

Last week in a meeting, a plan to maintain trouble-free parking at parks and hospitals, especially during Eid holidays, was finalised by the Lahore Parking Company (LPC). The plan was devised in order to end complaints related to receipt of parking fee or overcharging.

Under government policy, parking lots being maintained at parks were not authorised to charge fee from motorists. However, parking fee at hospitals was fixed at Rs5, Rs10 and Rs20 for cycle, motorcycle and car, respectively.

“Under the plan we have devised, public complaints will be reduced since experienced and honest parking staff has been deployed there,” LPC General Manager (Operations) Faizan Wali told Dawn.

khalidpak284@yahoo.com

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2016