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SC calls detailed report on high-rises

LAHORE: A full bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday directed the Punjab government and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to submit a detailed report on all high-rise buildings in the city.

The bench consisting of Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, Justice Sair Ali and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja ordered the respondents to submit a report about all high-rise buildings and also give recommendations on what action should be taken against the 1,500 to 2,000 buildings constructed in violation of rules. The bench also directed the respondents to point out the high-rise buildings, which rule violations could be pardoned and which cannot be pardoned.

On Tuesday, a commission appointed by the full bench submitted a detailed report about these buildings.

Salman Butt, a legal adviser to LDA, told the bench that nearly 30 engineers had been appointed to check the structures of buildings, and legislation to stop illegal constructions was also under process. He said commercialistaion of buildings was banned for two years and LDA was vigilant against all illegal constructions.

45 days: The bench was told that under the rules, if a construction plan was not passed in 45 days, the builder could start construction anyway. At this Justice Ramday remarked that the rule would allow builders to construct as many storeys of buildings as they wanted. The bench observed that LDA should make serious efforts to stop this, and not waste time in passing construction plans. The bench observed that it was of paramount concern that LDA was not acting against illegal construction, and its officials demanded heavy bribes to pass building plans.

Justice Ramday remarked that the court was not against the construction of high-rise buildings in the city, but this should be done according to rules and regulations. He observed that the court would not hesitate a minute to order the demolition of buildings. People in the Walled City have constructed 10-storey buildings on four-marla plots and no one dared stop them, he said.

Notice: The bench also issued a contempt notice to the owner of a plaza in Barkat Market, Garden Town after the LDA counsel pointed out that a fine of Rs 50 million had been imposed on the builder, but the cheque signed by him was dishonoured by the bank.

Source: Daily Times

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