Saturday September 23, 2023

After ECP’s letter: LDA stops issuance of NOCs to housing societies

By Our Correspondent
September 20, 2023

LAHORE:Metropolitan Planning Wing of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has stopped issuing NOCs to new housing societies in its jurisdiction. The decision was taken after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) raised the issue of massive land use in different districts of Punjab and wrote a letter in this regard.

Nadeem Akhtar Zaidi, Chief Metropolitan Planner (CMP), told the scribe that at present the wing was not issuing any new NOC. He said this was being done on the instructions of Housing Department, which forwarded a letter of ECP. The ECP issued a letter in mid-August 2023, imposing a ban on the issuance of No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) for new housing societies and made its approval mandatory in cases of urgency.

The ECP’s letter stated that the caretaker government has a mandate only to manage routine operational emergencies and should refrain from making significant policy decisions. The ECP’s letter stated that the ECP has noticed that the cases of changes in land usage was initiated by the provincial government across various districts and the issuance of NOCs by deputy commissioners to multiple housing societies has begun to compromise vital green spaces and productive agricultural land.

This trend could potentially lead to disorderly and unplanned residential expansion, accompanied by possible corruption concerns in specific regions, the ECP’s letter said, adding the responsibility of devising an appropriate policy to tackle this challenge falls squarely on the shoulders of the elected government. Consequently, an immediate cessation of new NOC issuance is urged, with a directive to communicate this decision to all deputy commissioners, the letter said and maintained that in instances where the caretaker government identifies pressing matters in this context or any other, they were expected to present a well-justified case for review and approval by the commission before any action was taken. ‘Upholding the commission’s legal mandate and guidelines is a fundamental expectation from the caretaker government as they fulfil their duties,’ the letter concluded.