LAHORE – The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has initiated land audit of all the approved housing schemes after finding massive irregularities including sale of plots allocated for educational institutions, hospitals, parks and graveyards. The authority has also launched an ‘action plan’ to identify illegal housing schemes in the City.
The LDA has approved more than 200 housing schemes including two new housing schemes recently launched at Raiwind Road and Ferozepur Road. It is learnt that around 350 illegal housing schemes have sprung up during the last five years. Most of them are located in Nishtar Town and Shalimar Town. The metropolitan planning wing of LDA has already notified a list of 116 private housing schemes that had been launched without getting approval from the competent authority as well as fulfilling other requirements. The LDA town municipal squad will publish the list of all illegal housing societies in newspapers and will fine societies violating the Private Housing Schemes Regulation Act 2005. The authority had advised people to avoid entering into any sale and purchase of plots in these housing schemes.
LDA Director General Arfan Ali has formed a special team consisting of LDA officials from the metropolitan planning, town planning and revenue sections to conduct land audit of the schemes. The team will present its preliminary report within two weeks. The LDA will also launch a website to keep the people informed about genuine and bogus housing schemes and societies. Sources revealed the director general launched both the initiatives after receiving complaints that development work in a few housing schemes approved by the LDA was not being carried out according to the schedule.
He had also received complaints that the plots reserved for public use including for parks, hospitals, schools and graveyards were being used for commercial and residential purposes. He was also informed that a number of plots of two new housing schemes reserved for public use were being sold out in connivance with the LDA officials, the sources added.
Insiders disclosed the DG showed great concern over said irregularities in the first scheme being established on 25,000 kanals on the left side of Lahore-Raiwind Road and the second scheme spanned over Ferozepur Road over an area of 200,000 kanals, which was almost eight times bigger than the Johar Town Housing Scheme. Both the schemes consisting of 210,000 plots would have 36 per cent of three-marla plots for people with low income.
The sources said that some portion of land for colleges for boys and girls covering an area of over 100 kanals, and two 100-bedded hospitals and two community centres had been encroached or sold out illegally. The DG has directed the team to complete its inquiry on priority basis and present it to him.
LDA official seeking anonymity said that the people involved in land grabbing and selling of plots for public use are well connected and resourceful. They enjoy the support of all those who can come to their rescue. He said that police help them to get the physical possession of the property, revenue officers help them in getting the forged documents, lawyers help them in retaining the legal possession of property and political support to control the administrative machinery to their advantage.
He said that in the presence of the Illegal Dispossession Act, 2005 and remedies under the Specific Relief Act, 1877 it is a shame that the most of the genuine owners and buyers of property had to lose their property to these land grabbers.
Source: The Nation