The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has planned to consult the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) to stop the construction of illegal commercial buildings, LDA officials told Daily Times on Wednesday.
Officials said LDA had been facing a major problem regarding illegal commercial buildings in its jurisdiction. They said that according to the city government”s assessment 1,056 illegal plazas and markets had been traced in the city. Officials said the plazas and markets had been constructed during the past 10 years and most of the construction had been done without approved building plans.
Officials said LDA had penalised the owners of illegal plazas and markets, but the latter did not pay the authority because the owners normally sold their buildings while they were being constructed and that people who had bought the illegal markets and buildings were not ready to pay the fine. Officials said the authority had decided to send such cases to ACE to recover the fines.
Officials said the city government had hired three private engineering consultant firms to verify and approve the structural design of multi-storeyed buildings. They said that besides approving the designs, the consultants had also been authorised to implement building bylaws.
A senior city administration official told Daily Times that involving ACE and private engineering consultants with regard to illegal plazas and markets would be a major breakthrough, but the city government should also monitor the process of permitting the construction of plazas at the town level. He said Data Gang Buksh, Ravi, Gulberg and Samnabad towns had experienced unplanned commercial activity in the past five years and that clandestine commercialisation in Gulberg and Ravi Towns had burdened the existing residential infrastructure.
The city government and LDA are using the increasing commercialisation as a tool to increase their revenue and annual collection has increased since the past few years. About 1,100 unplanned plazas, markets and shopping malls operate in Ravi Town with Shah Alam Market, Akbari Gate, Circular Road, Rang Mahal, Badami Bagh, Azam Cloth Market, Masti Gate and Sheranwala Gate being commercial hubs of the area.
According to city government rules, market or shopping malls cannot be constructed more than 60 feet high and no basements can be dug without permission. The LDA director general said seeking ACE”s help was standard practice and that only major cases of recovering fines could be referred to the establishment. However, he said, the authority was using its resources to implement building bylaws.
Source: Daily Times