LAHORE – Amid deep controversies, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has finalised arrangements to shift the Fruit and Vegetable Market, Kot Lakhpat, Model Town Extension Scheme, Ferozepure Road, Pakistan Today has learnt.
According to sources, Lahore District Coordination Officer (DCO) Ahad Cheema was architect of the proposed shifting, as he wants to please some of his friends. “Some close friends of the DCO, big shareholders in IT Tower located near the market complained to Cheema that the market was a matter of great nuisance for the IT Tower,” sources said.
According to sources, the DCO’s friends were of the opinion that traffic congestion, pollution and odour around the market were causing detrimental effects on business and development of IT Tower in the area. Setting a good example of nepotism the DCO, who heads the LDA Governing Body, decided about the shifting and approved acquiring approximately 35 kanals from land of the market on January 24 to eliminate source of pollution from the area, as the Punjab Agriculture Department had also decided to likely shift the market to Gajjumatta near Rohi Nala.
Cheema said that the market had become a source of pollution and traffic congestion on the Main Ferozepur Road, Lahore. He said that the matter was discussed at different government levels and it had been decided to make arrangements for shifting the market. A senior LDA official said that the market was established on 100 kanals as a part of a LDA scheme known as the Model Town Extension Housing Scheme. Land for the scheme was purchased by LDA from the Model Town Society in 1978.
When LDA planned to built an IT Tower in the area, it did not seek objections from traders and even the general public. The project of IT Tower was initiated during former Punjab CM Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s tenure. Around Rs 4 billion were invested in the IT Tower while investment at the market stood at Rs 220 billion. The market does business of Rs 50 billion annually.
Junaid Butt, a shopkeeper at the market, said that the IT Tower would accommodate around 1,000 traders whereas livelihood of more than 20,000 small shopkeepers and 2,000 vendors and 250 traders was associated with the market. The LDA spokesman said that most traders of the market favoured the shifting and only a handful of “mischief mongers” were speaking against the dislocation for their vested interests.
He said that the LDA Engineering Wing had estimated Rs 340 million for acquiring 227 shops, Rs 20 million for mosque construction, Rs 1.1 million for post office building, Rs 4.9 million for the market committee office and Rs 3 million for kiosks in the market.