LDA officials sealed offices of five illegal housing schemes
LAHORE: Following action against unlawful occupants and land grabbers, the Lahore Development Authority has launched a crackdown against illegal housing schemes.
On the directions of LDA Director General Amna Imran Khan on Tuesday, officials of the Metropolitan Planning wing took action against various housing schemes in the provincial capital. LDA officials sealed offices of five illegal housing schemes on Main Ferozpur Road. These schemes included Al-Fajr City, Shahzad Homes, Engeneers’ Park, New Kashmir Park and a land subdivision situated opposite Mandi Garden.
The authority’s DG directed officials concerned to continue this campaign against illegal housing scheme across the city. She also ordered taking stern action against such schemes without discrimination.
On Monday evening, Khan directed officials of the LDA Metropolitan Planning Wing to suspend all routine work and carrying out stocktaking of all legal, illegal and under process housing schemes. She asked officials to conduct an audit of the cases of all the schemes and resume routine work after the completion of exercise. Khan added that public complaints about illegal housing societies were on the rise.
The authority also advised prospective buyers of plots to inquire about the legal status of a housing scheme /land subdivision or a particular plot before making any financial transaction. An official of the authority told The Express Tribune that there were hundreds of illegal housing schemes in the provincial capital, including some big projects. He added the authority lacked the capacity to regulate all housing schemes in its jurisdiction due to limited human resources.
He said that following the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) drive against some big real estate developers, the situation started improving. “Otherwise, no one was paying heed to the authority’s direction. Most illegal housing projects were backed by politicians and influential,” he highlighted.
On the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, the government has formed anti-encroachment committees in all 36 districts of the province to monitor the ongoing operation. Deputy Commissioners were nominated as heads of these committees, while they included the relevant DPO/CPO, a district officer of the local government department and senior officers of development authorities.
The MNAs/MPAs of the district, social activists and other notables would be included in these committees. These official bodies would be responsible for planning and monitoring the operation against encroachments and land grabbers on a daily basis.
The chief minister, on Tuesday, also issued directions that state lands be recovered from the clutches of powerful mafias. He made it clear that the indiscriminate operation against illegal occupants of state lands would continue. Buzdar ordered that no action would be taken katchi abadis or against street vendors, daily-wage earners and the poor. “If any complaint is received in this regard, action will be initiated against officials concerned,” he warned.
He said that operation would continue against illegal occupants in areas managed by LDA, RDA, FDA, MDA, GDA and other authorities – without discrimination. “No one will be allowed to grab the state land,” he said. The CM added the ongoing operation against the powerful land-grabbers and squatters would be brought to its logical end.