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Survey of rundown buildings

Lahore: THE Lahore administrator has directed all town administrations to start a pre-monsoon survey of rundown buildings so that their occupants could be asked to vacate them before the rainy season.

Officials said the directions were passed to all the TMOs with a warning that negligence would not be tolerated. They said last year the City District Government Lahore had declared over 700 buildings dangerous but failed to vacate any of them as the residents demanded alternative residences.

Officials said the survey of dangerous buildings by the CDGL was a regular feature every year but so far none of the premises, which were declared dangerous in past were demolished or vacated. The only thing the CDGL did in past was issuance of notices to the residents while no practical steps were taken to consider the genuine demand for alternative residences or places by the occupants.

Officials claimed that after the last year’s survey of dilapidated and dangerous buildings, the CDGL served notices on the occupants to immediately vacate their buildings. Officials claimed that 511 out of the 700 buildings were in the jurisdiction of Ravi Town and needed immediate repair to sustain the monsoon season. Out of these 511 buildings 80 are most dangerous buildings, which could cause huge loss to human lives at any time, officials claimed.

Though the CDGL has declared all these structures dangerous and unfit for residential purposes, majority of the occupants refused to vacate those buildings due to various reasons.

Giving further breakup of the 511 dangerous buildings, a senior official of the Ravi Town said 87 buildings were located in the areas of Taxali Gate, Tehsil Bazaar, Saaid Mitha Bazaar and Bhati Gate. He said 56 buildings were located in Mohalla Chomala, Mohalla Put Rangan, Mohalla Jalwatian and Mori Gate. He maintained that 60 buildings were located in Kucha Qadri, Langa Mandi, Kotli Kewran and Gumti Bazar.

The official said 80 dangerous structures were located in Kucha Elahi Bakhsh, Kucha Chiri Maran, Mori Gage Bazaar, Lohari Gate Bazaar, Kucha Ghosia etc. He said 45 buildings were situated in Haveli Pathran Wali and Mochi Gate while 94 dangerous buildings were located in Mohalla Kakay Zayian, Bazaar Tezabian, Chowk Chuna Mandi, Kashmiri Bazaar, Azam Cloth Market and Sheranwala Gate. The official said 49 dilapidated structures were at Yaki Gate and Delhi Gate while 40 such buildings were situated in Akbari Mand and Delhi Gate Bazaar. He said 38 dangerous buildings were located in Kucha Loharan, Kucha Qazi Khana, Rang Mahal and Kucha Kuli Khana. Babu Shah, a resident of one of the dangerous buildings inside Delhi Gate, said he had been living in the building for the past 15 years. He said he was a painter and earn around Rs 8,000 per month. He said the rent of the house was Rs 1800 and if he moved somewhere else, he would have to pay advance payment as well as more rent, which he could not afford.

“Though the building is dangerous and can collapse any time, I can not move out due to lack of money. If the CDGL wanted me to shift from this building, it should provide me with a residence,” he said.

Another senior official of the CDGL said most of the inhabitants of the above mentioned buildings were tenants while owners of these buildings did not spend enough money on repair and maintenance because of low rent amount. He said another reason for not maintenance of these buildings was that many owners wanted their tenants to vacate the buildings but did not want to go in a legal battle by issuing them any notice.

Shahid Malik, a lawyer, said the Punjab Local Government Ordinance did not authorize the CDGL to demolish or get a building vacated from its residents. This is purely a civil matter and if the CDGL wanted to vacate these buildings, it has to file civil cases.

However, another senior official of the CDGL said if a building was declared dangerous after a survey or a report by a local elected representative to the town’s Planning and Building Control (P&BC) Department, the CDGL could serve legal notices on the residents to vacate it. The CDGL can also lodge FIRs against the residents and the residents, if found guilty, might be fined Rs 15,000 or a three year imprisonment.

Source: The News

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