LAHORE, Aug 28: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) does not have record of 50 per cent buildings in its controlled area of Shahalami Market, reveals a report of the committee formed by the district government to probe the collapse of China Tower in the commercial hub of the city.
The survey conducted by the committee of over 60 buildings on the main road disclosed that in 90 per cent cases gross violations of building plans had been committed.
Either basements have been constructed or more floors have been added illegally to the approved structures, the survey says, adding the maximum altitude of the buildings is also over and above the permissible limits.
Most of the violations have been committed during the last 10 years or so, the committee observes.
LDA authorities will identify officials who remained posted in the estate management department during that period in a meeting of the body being held on Tuesday (today) to finalise findings of the survey, it is learnt.
DCO Muhammad Ijaz says the report will be sent to the LDA as well as towns for appropriate action against the violators. It will also be submitted to the chief minister.
Meanwhile, contrary to the claims made by authorities, debris of collapsed floors of China Towers could not be removed even on Monday, keeping the Shahalami Road partially closed.
The DCO had on Saturday told reporters that the road would be opened to traffic by Monday morning as the wreckage would be removed by that time.
Owners of adjacent shops said that non-technical workforce had been hired to remove the debris which had so far completed less than 30 per cent of the task.
Pakistan Bottle Perfume Association president Zahid Mir, whose owned a shop in an adjacent plaza, alleged that ordinary labour had been employed purposely for recovering goods from the building instead of removing the rubble that endangered the rest of the structure as well as adjoining markets.
“The Bottle Market is lying closed since Thursday, the day the China Tower collapsed, and shopkeepers are worried about the loss of their business worth millions of rupees daily.”
Mir said some government agency with technical expertise and required machinery should have been deputed for clearing the rubble.
He alleged that Bilal Khan Lodhi, the owner of the China Tower, was a close relative of a top official in the federal government and that was why police were taking least interest in his arrest.
The DCO on the other hand said said that the Sunday night rain had rendered the task (rubble removal) risky. He said that the LDA might be involved in the job if the incumbent contractor failed to finish it by Tuesday.
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