LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has given a 100 percent building period waiver for the second time to the Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust flouting its own decision taken in 2001 and making a mockery of all slogans of merit and rule of law of the Punjab government, Pakistan Today has learn.
The LDA extended the building period free of surcharge twice for a 40 kanal, 22 square feet plot number 20 at Block J/I and 3 kanal, 18 marla and 205 square feet plot number 27 to 31 at Block J/I in Johar Town to the Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust conditionally until 2011 for construction of the Aiwan-e-Quaid-e-Azam.
The extension was given in the LDA General Body meeting chaired by Lahore DCO Ahad Cheema at the LDA Office, Egerton Road on Tuesday. The Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust got the first 100 percent building period waiver for the plots starting in 2001 and expiring in 2005. Since the allotment of plots by LDA in 1992 and 1993 and expiration of the initial building period in 1995, the Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust was due to pay the surcharge but had not paid a single penny in this regard.
According to data obtained by Pakistan Today, the LDA had announced a 100 percent rebate in building period to government, semi-government offices, autonomous bodies, NGOs and non-profit organisations including the Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust in case they started construction within a year and completed it within three years until October 16, 2001. According to the data, the waiver was supposed to be granted for once only. The LDA held a meeting with the Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust secretary on June 25, who was seeking a further extension in the building period.
The LDA also raised the issue in its governing body meeting held on October 5. The meeting said that originally the public utility plot number 152 Block J/I, MA Johar Town measuring approximately 40 kanals was allotted to the Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust on August 6, 1992. Plot number 152 Block J/I was later on exchanged with plot number 20 Block J/I Johar Town, measuring 40 kanal and 22 square feet vide letter number DEM LDA/550 dated September 22, 1992.
The trust also made a request for allotment of additional land bearing plot number 27 to 31 Block J/I Johar Town, measuring 3 kanal, 18 marla and 205 square feet, which was also accepted by the competent authority and conveyed to the trust vide letter dated March 18, 1993. The three year building period of the above mentioned plots had expired on August 16, 1995. According to the data, the building period surcharge up to October 20, 2004 was calculated to be around Rs 11.9 million and conveyed to the trust vide letter dated August 7, 2001.
The LDA in its meeting held on October 16, 2001 gave a 100 percent rebate in the building period to government and semi-government offices. The decision of the authority said, “Government and semi-government offices, autonomous bodies, NGOs and non-profit organisations will be allowed 100 percent rebate in building period in case they start construction within one year and complete it within three years.
This will be one time waiver only. The decision was particularly mentioned in the possession order issued in favour of the Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust on January 23, 2001 regarding the said plots. The rebate given by the authority was conditional and stands automatically withdrawn as the allotee/trust has not availed the opportunity up to November 16, 2005,” the data said.
A senior LDA official told Pakistan Today that all plots, which availed the 100 percent rebate were commercial plots and the extension had deprived the LDA of million of rupees in revenue. “This is a real setback for the LDA that has been facing around Rs 2 billion budgetary deficit already,” he added.
The official said that the waiver plan was on top of the agenda of the LDA General Body meeting, which was scheduled to be held on December 6 but was deferred to December 7, as LDA big wigs were in a fix over the issue. “The state of bewilderment continued until the last LDA Governing Body meeting held in October when the matter was taken on top priority and it was decided that it would be better to send a summary to the Punjab government to seek its directions in this regard,” the official said.
He said that two town administrators who attended the meeting had opposed the waiver, saying it would be against the rules if a second time extension was allowed but their views were not entertained. Another official in the LDA Town Planning Branch said that a tense situation was continuing since the last two months, as it would have been an open violation of rules if the extension was awarded for the second time. Eventually, the LDA backed down due to political pressure, he added.
The official said that CM’s Secretariat officials were also involved in the issue and had compelled the LDA to violate the rules. LDA spokesman Sohail Janjawa said that the last extension was given to various organisations including the Nazria-e- Pakistan Trust and this time the trust was the sole organisation who had sought the extension and the LDA awarded it keeping in mind the Aiwan-e-Quaid-e-Azam project.
He said that the extension would pay a tribute to the Quaid-e-Azam. He said that the governing body had supreme powers to allow the extension and claimed that there was no violation of rules in providing the waiver to the Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust. He said that the extension was conditional and would expire in December 2011.
Source: Pakistan Today