Petitioner says new balloting will do injustice with those who were awarded plots in February; Committee had concluded that employees with 10 years of service be allotted plots; LDA official says LDA slashed the number of plots by 50 percent despite avail
LAHORE – The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) is unlikely to decide the fate of plots of its employees on its own terms, discarding LDA staffers’ demands. All was set to dole out the plots through balloting on Thursday (today) but the court issued restraining orders on Wednesday. An LDA employee, Muhammad Khalid, petitioned in the civil court, saying that LDA should be stopped holding balloting for employees’ plots on March 10 as he apprehended that balloting will not do the justice with those who were awarded plots through balloting in February and former LDA DG Umer Rasool cancelled the process.
Sources in LDA told Pakistan Today that a petition filed by an LDA employee, Farhad Ali Khan, against the cancellation of balloting in February was already pending in court. “Before the second balloting is held on March 10, another petition was field on which court issued stay orders, triggering a new controversy in the employees’ plot quota,” sources said. Both the petitions, sources said, were filed because of unwise decisions on the part of LDA bigwigs for the employees’ quota.
A senior official in LDA said that LDA slashed 50 percent plots from 900 plots, despite their availability in different housing schemes, leaving employees high and dry.
The LDA employees’ plot quota scandal made the headlines when massive irregularities were traced out in balloting of plots and some LDA officials were found involved in misusing their powers, setting aside balloting procedures and ignoring formal permission from the Board of Governors in February 2010. Former LDA DG had to cancel all plots’ allotment for damage control and constituted a committee to gain transparency.
He also made Director Nadeem Aktar, who supervised the controversial plot’s balloting on February 2, 2010, an OSD taking disciplinary action against him.
“However, LDA has appointed Nadeem Aktar, a key player of the scam, as chairman of the high-level committee, to monitor the new balloting for employees’ plots to be held at LDA’s office in Johar Town on March 10,” an official said. “According to the new policy, the employees who completed 10 years of their service till 1988 are eligible for the plots. The policy, surprisingly, has discarded all those employees serving from 1988 till 2011,” he added.
“No one knows why such a discriminatory criterion has been laid down and whether, in the making of modus operandi, all stakeholders were taken on board or not,” a senior LDA official told Pakistan Today. The LDA administration branch prepared the lists. A letter in this regard had been sent to Punjab housing secretary so that he could appoint an official to monitor the balloting of 3-marla, 5-marla, 7-marla, 10-marla and 1-kanal plots on March 10.
A high-powered committee has also been constituted under the chairmanship of LDA Director Town Planning (II) Nadeem Akhtar Zaidi. The committee consists of Director Finance Zaheer Asghar Rana, Director Land Development (I) Muazam Rashid, Director Estate Management Muhammad Nauman Khan, Director Land Development (IV) Ahmed Mumtaz Ali Khan, Project Director (IT) Mansoor Butt, Deputy Director Administration (II) Muhammad Aslam Shahid, WASA Director Revenue Muhammad Tasleem, WASA Director P & E Zahid Aziz, LDA CBA (Union) President Naeem Ullah Khan, WASA CBA (Union) president and a representative of the housing department.
To ensure fairness and transparency, LDA also formed a six-member committee comprising LDA and WASA officials. The additional director general (Housing) will chair the committee comprising WASA deputy managing director (F & R), LDA chief town planner, LDA director administration, WASA director administration and LDA director law. The committee had to monitor the balloting process on March 10.
As per initial recommendation, 167 employees of grade 1 to grade 7, 218 employees of grade 5 to 10, two officials of grade 16 to 17 and 18 officials of grade 18 will be accommodated in the draws.
Some more employees will be named in final recommendation. Data revealed that LDA allotted 190 plots to its employees in 1988 through balloting. Second time 548 plots were given through balloting in 2008. The plots included Johar Town Phase I and Phase II (89), Sabzazar Scheme Phase I, Phase II (133), Jublee Scheme (119), Mohalnwal Scheme (26), Gujar Pura Scheme (163), Mustafa Town (18). However, the process of third time allotments of plots through balloting was termed illegal in February, 2010. The forth time balloting was scheduled for March 10.
According to the Supreme Court’s ruling, LDA was required to calculate three percent quota to be allotted to LDA employees in all new schemes. After due deliberation and series of discussion, the 2007 committee reached the conclusion that remaining regular employees of LDA having a minimum service of 10 years be allotted the plots on promulgation of the disposal of land by Development Authorities (Regulations) Act, 1988.