LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) claims to have added undeveloped 33,000 acres of brown areas (the land allocated / notified for housing projects) into the green areas in the Lahore Master Plan-2050.

“In north side of Lahore (Kala Shah Kaku and Muridke sides in Sheikhupura district), we have taken 27,000 acres out of the undeveloped brown areas and declared them as green ones for agriculture use. Similarly, another 6,000 acres have been taken of the brown areas along the Bambawali-Ravi-Bedian (BRB) Canal and allocated them for green areas or the National Strategic Policies,” LDA Director General Aamir Ahmad Khan said during a media briefing on the Master Plan-2050 recently approved by the LDA’s governing body, headed by Chief Minister Parvez Elahi.

The DG said the area (around 20,000 acres) which has been turned into brown was, in fact, declared already as brown in Master Plan 2004. However, in 2016, it was again declared green. Meanwhile, many acres were converted into built-up areas. Many people had approached the court on the declaration of brown areas as green in ones in 2004.

“Some other chunks of land (12,000 acres) that were never considered for brown areas but required to be made brown keeping in view the increasing demand and growth towards south were finally added to the brown areas for the first time.

“If you read the report carefully and see the map, it will prove that we have in fact increased green areas. The master plan has been prepared by competent French consultants with input from Lahore’s top independent environmentalists and urban experts,” Mr Khan claimed.

Responding to questions, he dispelled the impression of vested interests behind approval of the master plan by the CM. He said the need to prepare master plan arose in 2019 after the Lahore High Court (LHC) ordered the authorities to do so. The objective of the plan was to cater to all the requirements of existing and future growth in line with the best international practices. The plan’s objectives also included halting horizontal growth and promotion of the vertical growth to save the green areas for the public.

The authority started preparing the plan by involving all the stakeholders in line with the needs of environmental protection, sustainability, inclusiveness, economy and heritage.

“The consultants carried out a survey of 30,000 households in the Lahore division and found that the population of the Lahore city alone would be 25m by 2050.”

The LDA DG explained the main objectives of the Lahore Master plan.

“The deadline for notifying the plan was Dec 31, 2021. But it was not done while on the other hand, the supervisory bench of the LHC was pushing us to complete the task. Later, the deadline was taken to Dec 31, 2022. In the last meeting held by the CM, we got it approved and later notified recently,” the DG maintained.

To another question, he said the Lahore Division’s Master Plan-2050 is not limited to the major cities—Lahore city district, Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana.

“It is not one master plan but 49 plans for all major and small and major cities of Lahore division,” he added.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2023

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