LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has lifted restrictions on commercial activity on 58 roads in the city in a bid to raise more revenue for development.
Under the authority’s new commercialisation policy, the roads will now be open to any commercial concerns except bus terminals, goods transport terminals and godowns, an LDA spokesman told The Express Tribune.
The LDA has waived the restriction on size and now plots of less than one kanal can also be used for commercial activities, unless it is a high school or wedding hall, in which case a minimum of four kanals will be required. Existing schools and halls are allowed to continue operating and paying commercialisation fees. LDA approval must be obtained before plots can be used for commercial purposes.
Previously, businesses on commercialised roads were paying the LDA annual fees of 0.6 per cent of the DC rates, which is the minimum land value. Under the new policy, starting a business will require a one-off charge of 20 per cent of the DC rate. An official said that the DC rate is revised for each area every five years, but couldn’t say when it was last revised.
The LDA has also eased restrictions on building height. The upper limit on height is determined by multiplying the width of the road by 1.5, plus an additional 15 per cent. Rules for leaving open space have also been eased and the minimum space reduced. Restrictions on basements have been lifted.
The new policy, drawn up by the district design and planning committee headed by the Lahore commissioner, had input from all stakeholders including traders’ unions, economists and builders, the LDA spokesman said. He said that the public had been invited to give its views through adverts in newspapers late last year.
Traders welcomed the new policy as business-friendly. Muhammad Bilal, a wedding hall owner on Gulshan-i-Ravi’s Main Boulevard, said that he would be able to operate his business without the threat of closure. “Previously we were worried about the future but now we can either enhance or renovate our halls, which will definitely boost our business,” he said. But owners of wedding halls on Canal Bank Road voiced concern that the policy did not extend to that road, which was recently handed over to the LDA.
Khalid Khan, the owner of a wedding hall by the Canal, said the authority should announce a policy for them too. “We are already in a tense situation as we have repeatedly received notices to move. We will now sit together and decide what to do next,” he said.
A resident of a heavily commercialised part of Gulberg said that there was already much noise pollution and traffic in the area, and it would only get worse with further commercialization.
Abdul Aleem Khan, a former PML-Q minister and one of the top property developers in Lahore, said the new policy seemed to be an attempt by the provincial government to seek support among traders. “It won’t work though. They still have not forgiven the government for knocking down high-rises and the anti-encroachment drive,” he said.
Khan said that allowing commercialisation of all roads would result in less business at traditional centres of commerce.
The roads on which commercial activity was allowed for the first time are Main Boulevard, Gulshan-i-Ravi; Main Boulevard, PIA Scheme (Wapda roundabout to Hakim Square); parts of Main Boulevard, Johar Town; the approach road to Shadbagh (Tajpura Mor to Gol Ground, Shadbagh); Multan Road (Yateem Khana Square to Defence Road); segments of College Road, Township; and Ferozepur Road (Chungi Amar Sidhu to Sua-Asil).
Commercial activity was already allowed at Jail Road; Main Boulevard, Gulberg; MM Alam Road, Gulberg; parts of Hali Road, Gulberg (Property #136 and 64 E-1, Gulberg III, to Property #114 and 73 E-1, Gulberg III); Stadium Road, Noor Jehan Road, Gulberg; The Mall; Tariq Road; Link MM Alam Road; the road behind Liberty Market; Firdaus Market Road; Link Road, Main Market (Shezan side); Link Road, Main Market (Auriga side); part of Ghalib Road (Chen One Road); Main Boulevard, Garden Town; Main Boulevard, Allama Iqbal Town; Main Boulevard, Shadman; Maulana Shaukat Ali Road (Canal Bridge to Model Town Link Road junction); College Road, Township (Akbar Chowk to Ghazi Chowk); Ferozepur Road (Qurtaba Chowk to Chungi Amar Sidhu); Sher Shah Road, Gujjarpura; Al-Madina Road, Township; Bagrian Road, Township; Main Boulevard, Samanabad; Approach Road Tajpura; part of Civic Centre Road, Garden Town; Model Town Link Road; Hamdard Jail Road (Plot #1223-5-D/II to Ghazi Chowk); Shabbir Usmani Road (Y-Junction to M Shaukat Ali Road); Main Boulevard, Shadbagh; College Road, Gulberg (Property #9 and 10 Block K, Gulberg II, to Property #6-H and 24-H, Gulberg II); Park Road, Ali Zeb Avenue, Gulberg (Property #1 J Block to #6 J Block, Gulberg III); Link MM Alam Road (Property #9, T Block, Gulberg II to Property #14, T Block, Gulberg II); Guru Mangat Road, Gulberg (Only right side coming from College Road); Abul Hasan Isfahani Road (Property #30, 31, 32, 33 and 34, Block B, Faisal Town); Shadman part of Race Course Road; Shahra-i-Aiwan-i-Tijarat (Property #6, Shadman to Property #1, Shadman); Link Road, Main Boulevard, Garden Town (Property #13, 14, 47, 48, 80 to 85, Babar Block, New Garden Town); and Wahdat Road (Ferozepur Road to Property #69-C, New Muslim Town).