LDA turns a deaf ear to SC’s ruling on housing societies; Department’s DG stops operation against underdeveloped schemes approved before 2005

LAHORE – The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) seems least bothered about the Supreme Court’s (SC) orders to take action against 23 undeveloped housing societies, which were approved before 2005, Pakistan Today has learnt. The above-mentioned housing societies are the Gulshan-e-Ahbab Phase-II Housing Society, Aitchison College Staff Housing Society, Akhtar Housing Society, Gulshan-e-Jinnah Housing Society, Gulshan-e-Shalimar Housing Society, Gulshan-e-Awan Housing Society, Ittefaq Town Housing Society, Kakezai Housing Scheme Phase-I, Khayaban-e-Zohra Housing Society, Rail Town Housing Society, Mohafiz Town Phase-I Housing Society, Mohafiz Town Phase-II Housing Society, Nespak Phase-III (site-II) Housing Society, Pakistan Rajpat Housing Society, PCSCIR Staff Phase-II & III Housing Society, Regent Park Housing Society, Saadat Cooperative Housing Society, Samanberg Khurd Housing Society, Saroba Garden Housing Society, Shahid Town Housing Society, Sui Northern Gas Employees Housing Society, Superior Courts Housing Society and WAPDA Retired Officers Housing Society.

Out of these housing societies, some have completed only 50 percent of development work while others have completed even less despite passage of five years, a senior LDA Metropolitan Planning officer told Pakistan Today. He said that an SC bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ordered a crackdown on bogus and undeveloped housing schemes while disposing of petitions submitting that Venus Housing Scheme owner Mian Shahbaz sold plots of the housing scheme but did not develop the area. The official said that the SC directed officials to spend money acquired by auctioning plots on development of the Venus Housing Scheme.

According to sources, following the SC’s orders, the LDA took over 50 mortgaged plots, measuring 82 kanals, in the Venus Housing Scheme declaring that these plots were guaranties for completing development work in the private housing society located around five kilometres from the Lahore General Hospital on Ferozepur Road. They said that the builder had also sold these plots but did not complete the development work in the scheme, which was established in 1982. Sources said that after the matter was put on the backburner, LDA also lost interest in it.

Despite the fact that notices were issued to all such societies, LDA Director General (DG) Abdul Jabbar Shaheen has stopped the operation against the underdeveloped housing societies. According to the rules and regulations regarding developing private housing schemes and check the mushroom growth of unauthorised and underdeveloped private housing schemes, the Punjab government has already introduced the New Private Housing Schemes and Land Sub-Division Rules 2010. Submitting the solid waste management plan, landscaping plan, fixing plot numbers, displaying guide map, providing hydrant on main water supply lines, tree plantation plan, formation of plot owners association, change of command from Town Municipal Administration (TMA) to the district coordination officer (DCO), rise in scrutiny fee from Rs 100 per acre to Rs 1000, condition of 20 percent mortgaging plots of total salable area, scheme registration numbers, publicising the scheme with all its details are new provisions, which were not part of the previous rules.

According to rules, in order to get approved a housing society approved over 100 kanals, developers have to submit the landscaping and solid waste management plans to the DCO concerned or the LDA. “Insides roads and streets will have to be broadened to 40 feet rather than 30 feet,” the rules say. Developers would have to publicise the scheme including presentation of the approved map, number of plots, details of residential and commercial plots, details of mortgaged plots to authorities concerned, timeframe in which development work would be completed, name of sanctioning authorities, which approved the scheme and the scheme registration number.

According to rules, all the saleable area had to be mortgaged to the sanctioning authority, which would release it after completion of development work in the scheme. “25 percent of mortgaged lands will be released after 100 percent completion of development work regarding sewerage and drainage, sanitation and water supply. 25 percent of mortgaged lands will be released after completion of development works regarding construction of roads and footpaths. 25 percent of mortgaged lands will be released after completion of works regarding power supply, installation of street lights. 15 percent of mortgaged plots will be released after releasing 100 percent payment to the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) for provision of gas. 10 percent of mortgaged lands will be released after completion of solid waste management and horticulture works,” the rules say.