Govt decides to ‘urbanise’ 154 small towns, cities across Punjab

Published May 29, 2021
Five major cities — Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Multan—have not been included in the plan for urbanisation as they already have master plans for their land use and zoning for residential, commercial, agriculture and industrial activities. — Photo courtesy Syed Muhammad/File
Five major cities — Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Multan—have not been included in the plan for urbanisation as they already have master plans for their land use and zoning for residential, commercial, agriculture and industrial activities. — Photo courtesy Syed Muhammad/File

LAHORE: The government has decided to prepare master plans of 154 urban local governments/cities of Punjab in a bid, as per its claims, to control increasing migration of the people from small towns to big cities.

The five major cities — Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Multan—have not been included in the list as they already have master plans for their land use and zoning for residential, commercial, agriculture and industrial activities, Dawn has learnt.

“We have no plans for most of the cities (154 of the 159) as no one paid heed to the issue that finally caused horizontal growth there. Though the metropolises of Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan and Rawalpindi have master plans already, the realtors launched several housing projects in residential approved/unapproved areas/localities without need. Resultantly, the land cost increased but the newly developed housing schemes/projects are yet to attract settlement of the people,” said Umme Laila, the focal person for the Rs500m project, titled “Preparation of Master Plans for 149 Urban Local Governments/Cities of Punjab”, envisioned and planned by the local government and community development department to be launched during the next fiscal year (2021-22) starting from July 1 under the annual development programme (ADP).

Master plans under Rs500m project being proposed in upcoming budget

The cities, which will have master plans for the first time are Kahuta, Kotli Sattian, Gujjar Khan, Murree, Kalar Syedan, Taxila, Attock, Hazro, Hasan Abdal, Fateh Jang, Pindi Gheb, Jand, Jhelum, Dina, Sohawa, Pind Dadan Khan, Chakwal, Talagang, Choa Saiden Shah, Kallar Kahar, Lawa in Rawalpindi division; Sargodha, Sillanwali, Sahiwal (Chita), Shahpur Saddar, Bhera, Kot Momin, Bhalwal, Bhakkar, Darya Khan, Kalor Kot, Mankera, Kushab, Quaidabad, Noorpur, Noshehra, Joharabad, Mianwali, Essakhel and Piplan in Sargodha division; Chak Jhumra, Khurarianwala, Jaranwala, Tandlianwala, Samundri, Sadhar, Dijkot, Chiniot, Lalian, Bhawana, Chenab Nagar, Jhang, Shorkot, Ahmadpur Sial, Athara Hazari, Toba Tek Singh, Gojra, Kamalia and Pir Mahal in Faisalabad division; Kamoki, Wazirabad, Qila Deedar Singh, Ghakkar Mandi, Noshehra Virkan, Hafizabad, Pindi Bhattian, Gujrat, Kharian, Sara-i-Alamgir, Jalalpur Jattan, Kunjah, Mangowal, Lalamusa, Dinga, Mandi Bahaduddin, Phalia, Malakwal, Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial, Pasroor, Narowal, Shakargarh and Zafarwal in Gujranwala division; Kasur, Chunian, Pattoki, Kot Radha Kishan, Phoolnagar, Alahbad, Mustafabad, Nankana Sahib, Shah Kot, Sangla Hill, Sheikhupura, Muridke, Ferozwala, Farooqabad, Sharaqpur and Safdarabad in Lahore division; Sahiwal, Chichawatni, Pakpattan, Arifwala, Okara, Deepalpur, Hujra Shah Muqeem, Haveli Lakha and Renala Khurd in Sahiwal division; Shujabad, Jalalpur Peerwala, Lodhran, Duniapur, Kahror Pacca, Khanewal, Kabirwala, Mian Channu, Jahanian, Burewala, Vehari and Mailsi in Multan division; DG Khan, Taunsa, Kot Chatha, Layyah, Chowk Azam, Karor Lal Eesan, Chobara, Muzaffargarh, Kot Addu, Sanawan, Chowk Sarwar Shaheed, Jatoi, Alipur, Gujrat, Rajanpur, Rojhan, Jampur and Fazilpur in DG Khan division and Bahawlpur, Uch Sharif, Ahmadpur East, Yazman, Hasilpur, Khairpur Tamiawali, Bahawlnagar, Chishtian, Haroonabad, Fort Abbas, Minchanabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Sadiqabad, Khanpur and Liaqatpur in Bahawalpur division.

According to the minutes of a recent meeting of the project management unit (PMU), presided over by the local government department secretary, the participants emphasized launching the project for the preparation of master plans for 154 urban local governments other than metropolitan cities where the local governments were legally bound to prepare a master plan for their area under the law.

The participants stressed ensuring the process of master plan preparation as a transparent exercise with the parallel continuous input of officers posted in the respective local governments. These plans would be presented to the respective district planning and design committees for deliberation and notification as mandated in the Land Use Rules 2020, they said.

They decided unanimously to submit a concept note and PC-1 of the project to the planning and development department for including it in the ADP schemes and allocation of funds besides notifying the PMU constituted in this regard.

It was unanimously agreed that master plans of 154 towns/cities would be prepared through consultancy by registered town planning firms by Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners (PCATP) within a period of one year. The follow-up, monitoring and implementation of plans will be ensured in year 3 by the PMU.

The participants also agreed to constitute a steering committee besides appointing an urban specialists/planner as the head of the PMU.

“The government wants to promote vertical growth and control horizontal one, protect green areas and unbridled increasing land cost, make site development zones for residential, commercial, industrial and agriculture activities, high-rise structures, low-cost apartment projects amid generation of economic activities. It will be possible only when we make master plans of the aforementioned cities. In this way, we can control migration of the people from small to big cities,” Ms Laila explained.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2021

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