LAHORE: The ongoing operation against illegal housing schemes, especially those developed partially or completely in green areas, is set to be intensified as those entrusted with the task in the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) have been given a free hand in this regard.

“We have been given a free hand to intensify the drive by dismantling infrastructure, including boundary walls, society/ management/sponsor offices of all illegal housing schemes developed partially or completely without permission of the competent authority. Instructions have also been passed on to all officials to focus on the housing schemes falling within the limits of the green areas as specified in Lahore’s master plan,” an official source in the LDA’s metropolitan planning wing explained while talking to Dawn on Monday.

Under the law, the permission to develop a housing scheme can be granted subject to existence of the site/land of the planned project in the designated areas mentioned/ marked in the master plan as brown areas.

Similarly, if such project (whether small scheme called land subdivision or major one — housing scheme is developed in the brown areas without permission, the LDA is liable to take action by launching a demolition operation besides imposing fi ne or getting FIR registered against the sponsors. But regulations don’t allow to plan and launch such projects in green areas. So the permission to start such projects in green areas cannot be granted under the law in any case.

The official said following the decisions taken by the top management, the teams launched operation against unlawful schemes a couple of months ago.

So far, the teams have launched operations in 135 illegal housing schemes by dismantling infrastructure.

These included over 30 housing schemes that were partially or completed developed in green areas.

These 30 schemes, according to the official, included Haideri Homes, Ferozepur City, Rana Garden, Azan Park, Hammad Garden, Goodluck, Mirza Estate, Green Farms, Shalamar, Victorious, Al Rahim Garden, New City, Sharif Town, Bilal Town, Al-Madina Town, Makkah Garden, Bismillah Park, Al Qadeer, Theme Park, Bin Alam, Punjab Homes, Kamboh Colony, Al-Rehmat Town and Manzoor Garden.

“We have also sent references against green areas housing schemes to National Accountability Bureau,” he said.

The official has appealed to the public at large to avoid entering into any transaction related to purchase of plot in any illegal housing scheme in their own interest.

“The people are better required to contact the LDA’s metropolitan wing to check legal and illegal status of the housing schemes prior to making any investment there,” he said.

The official said the LDA’s MP wing has been given a task to intensify the drive and make Lahore, Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana cities free of illegal schemes within the next two months.

Besides this, the teams have also been assigned to complete the tree plantation campaign in all approved housing schemes under the PM’s Green and Clean Pakistan Programme.