LAHORE: The Model Town Society (MTS) has permitted construction of multi-storey buildings in commercial areas in violation of the by-laws, while the residents are concerned about safety risks in construction of multiple storeys on old buildings that have suffered through several earthquakes.

Previously, the society’s administration was known for taking stern action against shopkeepers who tried to construct more storeys on their shops. There was no concept of violation of the by-laws as violators faced the risk of cancellation of their lease.

The construction of commercial buildings in C and H block markets of the society commenced in 1975 and the society formulated stern punishments for those constructing any structure on top of the ground floor. Shop owners previously had to seek permission from the society’s administration before altering the architecture of their shops. However, shop owners have recently started constructing multiple storeys on top of their single-storey shops in violation of the by-laws.

Residents: MTS residents said this could have dire consequences given the magnitude of commercial activity in the society. They said besides the chances of an accident or building collapse, multi-storey commercial centres would jeopardise the society’s greenery and beauty with increased levels of traffic and congestion.

Officials: MTS President Colonel (r) Tahir Kardar said the society’s administration would allow construction of multiple storeys in order to earn more revenue for the society. He said the society’s population had increased drastically over the past few decades and more shops were required to meet the society’s needs.

He said the society would not allow construction of multiple storeys on old buildings and it would cancel the lease of those violating the by-laws. He said the society would only allow construction of new multiple-storey buildings.

However, Model Town Residents Association (MTRA) President Amir Azam told Daily Times that some of the society’s administrators had already allowed shop owners to construct multiple storeys on their shops.

Azam said the society was designed in such a manner that it could only cater to the basic needs of a limited number of people. He said the construction of more buildings would increase the business activity in the area, which he said would result in more frequent traffic jams, parking issues, and increased congestion.

Citing safety risks, he said the society’s administration would be held responsible in case of a building collapse due to the construction of multiple storeys on top of old buildings. He said the residents had raised the issue at various forums but the administration refused to take notice, adding that it was only concerned with profits.

Source: Daily Times