LAHORE: The Defence Housing Authority has issued notices to plot owners in the authority, telling them to start building structures on their plots by December 2008 or be fined.

The notices have been sent to owners of plots in Phase I, II and III. The fine for residential plot owners is Rs 50,000 and commercial plot owner is Rs 100,000.

The notice reads: “It is for the kind information of all members of Phase-I to III, DHA Lahore, that after January 2009, a non-construction penalty will be charged.” The notice further states that all members are requested to start construction before December 2008 to avoid the non-construction penalty.

DHA spokesperson Tajammul Hussain told Daily Times on Monday that the announcement was made after the authority received complaints from residents about plots around their homes. He said that the complaints ranged from dust pollution and garbage dumping in the plots.

Residents have hailed DHA’s move. Khurram Fiaz, one of the complainants, said that he was in the favour of warning the owners of plots. He said most plots were covered by undergrowth that housed snakes, scorpions and other creatures harmful for DHA residents. “There have been many incidences where criminals have dumped bodies in the plots,” he added.

Fawad Tirmizi, a DHA resident, said that the presence of structures would minimise the possibility of land fraud. However, he said that a major drawback was that many plot owners lived abroad and that they did not have enough time to return to Pakistan and construct structures on their plots.

“Returning to construct a structure – may it be a house or shop – isn’t easy and requires a lot of planning. DHA needs to give expatriates more time,” he added.

An owner of a plot in Phase II said that DHA’s decision did not make any sense. “What if I had bought the plot for investment purposes? What if I don’t want to build a structure on my plot? What do people like me do? This is not right. Yes, if DHA wants to make sure that its plots aren’t being misused, it should pass a rule that plot owners need to maintain their plots. Making plot owners build structures on their plots is ill planned,” he added.

Courtesy: Daily Times, 20/5/2008