LAHORE: Residents of various housing societies have been facing severe problems for the past many months as the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and City District Government Lahore (CDGL) have failed to remove gates installed illegally in the societies.
A survey conducted by The News revealed that residents of various housing societies under the jurisdiction of the LDA are waiting for strong action by the Authority against hundreds of gates installed there illegally.
The CDGL in collaboration with the LDA started a massive crackdown on illegal encroachments in all the nine towns of the city two months ago but, unfortunately, the authorities had to remove the encroachments in the commercial areas while no crackdown was initiated to remove the illegal gates in the residential areas.
However, LDA officials claim that all the structures were causing impediments to movement of pedestrians, flow of traffic and ambulances and vehicles of emergency services in the commercial areas. They say the staff of the Town Planning Wing and Estate Management Directorate of LDA jointly carried out the operation to restore the right of way to these roads as per original plans. While no strategy has been made so far to remove the illegal gates in the housing societies, they add.
Residents of various other localities – including Faisal Town, Johar Town, Iqbal Town, Model Town, Township, Garden Town, UET Society, Wapda Town, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Samanabad, Sabzazar, Tajpura, etc. – urged the Authority to start a massive campaign against the illegally erected gates and barriers in the localities.
They appealed to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to pay a surprise visit to the areas to witness the gravity of the situation.
Talking to The News, an official of Rescue 1122 says that, in any case of emergency, Rescue officials have to face sheer trouble due to these illegally installed gates in the housing societies because it is very difficult for them to enter or exit in these societies in the presence of the gates. He says that the majority of the housing societies close their gates at night due to which it takes more than necessary time to reach the emergency spot.
Sufyan Saleem, a resident of Johar Town, says that erecting a gate or barrier blocking the entry to a road, especially in residential area, has become a common sight in the city.
He says people living in a Block block the entry to roads by installing steel gates or barriers causing difficulties to residents of adjacent streets. He says one could witness hundreds of such gates and barriers in Johar Town alone and, despite repeated complaints and applications to various authorities, no action has so far been taken against the illegal structures.
A survey of various city areas revealed that a majority of the private housing societies – such as WAPDA Town, NESPAK, Canal View, TECH Society, PCSIR, Gulshan-e-Lahore, Nasheman-e-Iqbal, Gulshan-e-Lahore, UET Society, EME Society, Valancia Housing Society, etc – have also blocked entry of general public to their area.
Residents of other localities such as Garden Town, Muslim Town, Shadman, Gulberg (some blocks), various roads in Cantonment area, Mughalpura, Tajpura, New Chauburji, Samanabad, etc, have also installed gates and barriers on their roads to block entry of traffic and general public.
Residents of Sector C2, Township, recently erected big steal gates on the road linking the other blocks of the society as well as Green Town police station and Edhi Old Home to the main road. The gate was closed and residents living nearby have to travel some two kilometers to reach the main road.
A CDGL senior official says the installation of gates and barriers to block public entry is an illegal act and all such gates and barriers are an encroachment on the road.
Talking to The News, Lahore DCO Ahad Cheema says the city government and LDA could not remove the gates by going door to door since the government does not have enough resources for the job. He says they have their focus on main roads and commercial centers to remove such gates. “We can only go to other areas if someone submits a proper complain regarding the problems created by the illegal gates.”
Model Town Society president Tahir Kardar says that the basic purpose of the installation of gates is to provide foolproof security to the residents of the society. He says that all major entrance and exit points linking to other major areas remain open all the time but the gates linking to the society blocks remain close. The Model Town Society has to repair and maintain all the roads of the society on their own as the government does not provide funds for the roads, he adds.