LAHORE: As the government has started giving possession of plots to the affectees of LDA Avenue-I housing scheme by resolving issues with two privately developed housing projects on Raiwind Road, it still faces various issues affecting completion of this mega venture launched in 2002.
According to an official document, the scheme has been facing various issues since long. These include incomplete mutation of acquired land in favor of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), massive litigation over land acquisition, absence of the scheme’s boundary wall, non-development of cleared areas, disposal of sewerage of adjoining localities, non-development of parks, non-allocation of areas for mosques, arbitrary revision of part plans of plots even after handover of possession, absence of policy regarding plots partially in litigation, building period for plots under litigation and incomplete scanning of property files.
“If we pick a couple of important issues afflicting the scheme, incomplete mutation of acquired land in favor of LDA is a very serious one, as it reflects grave negligence on the part of land acquisition collectors who were supposed to acquire land and mutate it fully in favour of the government (LDA). But they didn’t do it unfortunately, leading to a never-ending litigation over this scheme launched 17 years ago,” deplores an official who sought anonymity. “Besides, efforts for acquisition of the land owned by various private housing schemes too caused litigation in civil, session, higher and superior courts, depriving a number of allottees of plots possession,” he added.
The record shows that as many as 116 cases are being heard by various courts since long.
Of these, five are in Supreme Court, 31 in high court, 66 in civil courts and 14 cases are in appeal.
As per the scheme’s revised plan, there are total 13,461 plots, including 8,997 cleared ones. So the initial number of total plots in disputed areas (10 marla and 1 kanal plots) was 4,464, whereas the total affectees were over 3,300. The then LDA management in 2015 succeeded in giving possession of plots to 1,398 buyers in two phases through balloting, squeezing the number of total affectees to 1,987.
However, no further progress could be made in resolving crucial issues in the scheme because of various political reasons, and action against senior officials on the pretext of accountability etc.
“During the interim setup in 2018 and after that when the PTI government took over, these issues further lingered on as no officer was interested in taking up and resolve these problems. However, for the last few months, senior officials concerned have started paying attention to these issue,” the official explained.
Finally, the LDA management arranged out-of-court settlement with two private housing schemes, enabling the government to give plots to 683 of the remaining 1,987 affectees. Since the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has already issued possession letters to 623 affectees, the LDA is now all set to conduct balloting of plots for 487 of the 623 affectees on Jan 14.
“Though the problems still exits in the scheme, we are moving in the right direction and hope that all the issues afflicting the scheme will be resolved,” he believed.
Meanwhile, according to LDA Director General Sumair Ahmad Syed, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar would conduct balloting of plots for 487 affectees at a ceremony to be held on Jan 14.
“As two more schemes’ sponsors have agreed to settle the issue by getting 30 per cent development plots of their total scheme area, it has enabled us to accommodate more affectees,” Syed said, while presiding over a meeting here on Thursday. He added the balloting would be carried out in collaboration with the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB).
Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2020