LAHORE: The mushroom growth of ill-planned and sub-standard housing societies has marred the charm of the historical city of Lahore, as around 90 percent of the new housing schemes are built in violation with the set rules and regulations of development and maintenance.
Daily Times has learnt that of the 231 housing societies across the metropolis that have been approved by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), over 75 percent are either undeveloped or partially developed. Hence, only 25 percent societies are developed of which most are poorly maintained.
According to the LDA’s rules and regulations, a new housing society should be developed within a time period of five years. To ensure this, the LDA mortgages 30 percent plots of a society and releases them as the society grows and develops. If a society does not complete the development work within the stipulated period, it is served a notice by the LDA. In case the society’s administration does not take the notice seriously and shows unwillingness in completing the development work, the LDA can take over the society and start developing it by selling the mortgaged plots.
Nevertheless, it has been learnt that a large number of housing societies stand incomplete despite a passage of 10 to 15 years. Moreover, except for sending notices to them time and again, the LDA so far had not taken any serious action against the societies’ administrations. “The LDA can only serve notices to the housing societies defying its rules and regulations, however, it cannot take stern action against them owing to a lack of powers,” a senior LDA official told Daily Times, adding, “It is not possible for the LDA to take over a large number of housing societies, as it requires extra funds and manpower”.
Keeping in view the magnitude of the problem, the steps taken by the city government with regards to such housing societies uptil now can only be considered as insufficient.
Talking to Daily Times, Chief Metropolitan Planner Waseem Ahmad Khan said the LDA had served notices to those housing societies that had completed 60 to 70 percent development work or less. He said the LDA had taken over the Venice Housing Society and was carrying out the development work there. Khan added that the LDA planned to take over other societies as well, including Formanites Society, Shadaab Colony and Naz Town.
Sources told Daily Times that some of the new housing societies were approved in sheer violation of the Integrated Master Plan 2021 for the city, hence, they were to be blamed for the abnormal expansion of the metropolis. Also, these poorly-planned societies do not meet the residential and environmental standards, as they lack adequate community centres, service roads, parks, green belts, etc.
The citizens, especially the senior members, have expressed serious concern over the adverse impact of the “sub-standard” housing societies and the irregular expansion of the city.
“Unchecked growth of sub-standard housing societies will eat up the historical city of Lahore and if the phenomenon continued, a time will come when people will forget about the real Lahore altogether,” said a senior citizen, Sheikh Aslam.