LAHORE: Despite the city’s troubles increasing due to rising commercialisation, the caretaker government, in a surprising development, directed the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) on Wednesday to find ways to allow commercial activities on all major roads that had earlier been declared frozen for the purpose.
“LDA officials should look into the possibility of allowing commercial activities on major roads, which had been declared frozen for this purpose,” Caretaker Punjab Minister for Housing Saeedullah Babar said in a briefing he was given at the LDA headquarters by senior officials.
At present, 8,000 illegal commercial buildings existed on various major roads, causing traffic congestions, lack of parking space, law and order and other issues. The higher courts had also taken notice of the situation by constituting a commission to probe into the issue. A four-member team of Turkish experts had also visited Lahore last year and held meetings with the commissioner, LDA, Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency and Lahore Parking Company in order to find out solutions for better traffic management, parking, commercialisation among other issues.
“Increasing commercialisation along major roads instead of areas designated for such purposes is a major issue generating allied matters such as traffic congestion, parking, law and order etc. So the direction passed by the minister to the officials in a meeting to find possibility of allowing commercial activities on frozen roads is surprising since the caretakers have the main mandate of holding elections and not directing senior officials to change such important policy matters,” a source said.
He said under a policy, commercial activities on Canal Road, Khayaban-i-Jinnah, Khayaban-i-Firdausi, New Defence Road (from Shahkam to Bhobatiyan intersections), Raiwind Road, southern bypass (Shaukat Khanum intersection to the canal), Zafar Ali Road and some others are not allowed. Such activities are allowed on Jail Road, Ferozepur Road, Multan Road, The Mall, M.M. Alam Road, Hali Road, stadium road, main boulevards of Gulberg and Wapda Town, Doctors Hospital to Expo Centre.
The source said although the LDA had banned temporary commercialisation, it continued entertaining applications seeking permanent commercialisation of certain properties.
According to a press release, the minister also underlined the need for rationalising and modifying building regulations for encouraging construction of high-rises in the city, eliminating complaints regarding accumulation of water in basements of buildings situated along busy roads and other such by-laws for public convenience.
On this occasion, LDA Headquarters Additional Director General (ADG) Samia Saleem briefed the minister on setting up of a facilitation counter of Punjab Land Record Authority at one-window cell, service matters of the employees, automated system for efficient public service delivery etc. LDA ADG (Housing) Zeeshan Shabbir Rana informed the minister about computerisation of property record of four housing schemes.
LDA Chief Engineer Mazhar Hussain Khan briefed the participants about completion of a number of development projects during 2017-18. “Work on Orange Line Metro Train project and Shaukat Khanum Chowk flyover is in progress these days,” he added.
Chief Metropolitan Planner Shakeel Anjum Minhas briefed the minister about the process for according approval to new housing schemes. Chief Town Planner Nadeem Akhter Zaidi said all efforts were being made for strictly enforcing building regulations in LDA-controlled area.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018