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LDA given last chance for reply

The Lahore High Court on Wednesday gave last chance to the Lahore Development Authority to furnish relevant record on a petition challenging proposed conversion of recreational park at the Lahore Press Club Journalist Housing Scheme Lahore into a residential area by way of carving out of it plots for as many as 295 newly inducted members of the club.

Justice Sh Azmat Saeed of the LHC adjourned the hearing until March 22 and ordered the LDA to produce all relevant record of the colony.

The judge on January 21, during preliminary hearing, had restrained the Punjab government from converting the park into residential plots. On Wednesday, the court extended the stay till the next date of hearing.

The judge had earlier remarked that prima facie bar existed on converting the allocated land for developing a park into residential plots. A senior journalist, Din Muhammad Dard, had challenged the conversion of recreational park into residential area, submitting that the elected body of Lahore Press Club, including its president Sarmad Bashir, had distributed forms among new members to provide them plots in the parks, which is a violation of the law.

He said that, according to the law, once land was allocated for developing a park for the residents of the colony it could not be used for any other purpose. He submitted that adjacent to existing housing scheme private land was lying vacant from which acquisition of 581 Kanals and 16 marlas land had not only been proposed for phase-II of housing scheme but initial notification under section 4 of Land Acquisition Act had also been issued in May 2007.

He said the land would be a better place for allotment of plots to new council members of LPC. He said under rules 10 of Punjab Private Housing Schemes and Land Sub-division Rules 2010 a housing scheme should have open space seven pre cent or more while public buildings should be upon the areas ranging from five to ten pre cent.

He submitted that the decision was based on mala fide intentions besides being illegal, as once fixed for developing a park for the residents of the colony, the land could not be used for any other purpose. He requested the court to declare the decision as illegal.

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