LAHORE: The Wapda Medical College Trust (of Water and Power Development Authority) will soon launch its medical college in Lahore after the Lahore Development Authority has amended rules allowing fee waiver of land conversion for charitable bodies.

The medical college will be established at Wapda Town, phase-II (Abdul Sattar Edhi Road), where the authority has allocated 47-kanals, Dawn has learnt. According to documents, the Wapda Medical College Trust applied to the LDA in 2019 to exempt it from the conversion fee of over Rs54 million. The case, in a meeting held in August 2019, was approved by the scrutiny committee subject to the payment of conversion fee, provision of 30-foot houseline and adequate parking provision on the premises as per LDA Building and Zoning regulations.

However, the project owner (Wapda) applied for installments, which was also approved in November 2019, allowing the applicant to pay the fee in eight equal installments of over Rs6.8 million (each). The Wapda trust could not do that too.

In June, this year, Wapda again sought more time to deposit the conversion fee till the final decision of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) where the Wapda’s application for registration of its trust as charitable organization was in process. However, the LDA declined the application as there is no such provision in LDA land use rules 2020.

LDA amends land conversion rules for charities

Later in August, Wapda submitted an application along with its trust registration certificate issued by the FBR and requested the LDA to waive of the conversion fee.

Keeping in view the compliance of FATF-related laws and similar applications of the other charitable /non-profit organizations in future, the authority finally decided to amend LDA land use regulations 2020.

“Consequently, the authority added the regulation 23 (Exemption of Fee to Philanthropic / charitable Non-Profit Organization of Chapter-VII of LDA land use regulations 2020 that reads: “23 (c), the Philanthropic, charitable or non-profit organization is registered with the charities commission under home department, Punjab as per section 12 of the Punjab Charities Act 2018,” the document explains while discussing background of the issue. The applicant also submitted an affidavit stating that the organization shall provide services to needy people under its regulations. It may be mentioned that the LDA, under the amended rules, also entertained the similar applications from other organizations, including the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, and Tehzibul Akhlaq Trust, for establishing New Ali Garh University in Lahore.

The Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency has also been allowed to exempt the charitable organization from paying the scrutiny fee for the issuance of NOC related to parking provisions etc.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2021

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