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January 12, 2018

LDA survey of high-rises begins


January 12, 2018

LAHORE: Many of tall and beautiful high-rises in the provincial metropolis may be brought down to the ground in near future as Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has started a survey pinpointing violations of building bylaws.

The authority has started making lists of all high-rises and multi-storey buildings with violations and notices will be issued to all of them as per the violation, said LDA Director General Zahid Zaman while talking to The News. He said no one will be spared as LDA has decided to go by the book. Answering a question, he said those who have not followed building bylaws will have to face demolition too.

It may be recalled that following an order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) in 2009, LDA prepared lists of all such buildings. The issue of construction of high-rises in Lahore came to limelight after the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) took suo motu notice and barred construction of high-rises in May 2007. Later, the apex court constituted a commission for the inspection of all buildings, which identified over 400 such sites and directed LDA to demolish some of them completely and remaining partially. Finally on December 4, 2009, the court ended the restraint and the LDA started demolition of illegal structures.

The massive demolition drive was started by then Director General LDA Omar Rasool who presently is Additional Chief Secretary, Punjab. At that time, LDA engaged private companies to demolish all illegally constructed plazas in the city.

The LDA officials said at that time the commission inspected 170 out of 645 buildings during its survey and found 51 buildings constructed in violation of LDA by-laws. The commission suggested complete demolition of 25 buildings. Later, the LDA also planned to raze 45 high-rises and partial demolition of about 150 other plazas constructed in violation of building by-laws under the recommendations of the commission but the plan could not make any headway.

Sources in LDA's Town Planning Wing revealed that according to the list provided to the SC by the LDA, 45 illegal high-rises, including 15 on Model Town Link Road, five at Gulberg, six at PIA Housing Society, two at Johar Town, four at Shah Alam, three on Peco Road and two situated at Allama Iqbal Town are demolish-able. Sources maintained that these included Al-Hafeez Plaza, China Market, Akram Complex, Telenor Office, Tariq Complex, Bonni Mall, Zainab Tower, New Liberty Tower, Al-Rehman Medical Complex, Khan Arcade, Khan Shopping Centre and Rabi Centre.

Those 150 illegal high-rise plazas which were partially demolished included nine-storey Masood Hospital, five-storey Ahsan Tower, Inam Medical Centre, Ahad Towers and etc while at Gulberg several buildings, including Jeff Heights, Mega Tower, Ashrafi Heights and the famous Siddique Trade Centre were demolished partially.

Other illegal high-rises include 75 at Gulshan-e-Ravi Scheme, 30 at Johar Town, 12 PIA Housing Society, three each at Samag Berg, Garden Town, Samanabad and one each in Faisal Town, New Garden Town and LDA controlled area.

Khalid Sheikh, LDA's Chief Town Planner, said that the authority has started the survey after which notices will be issued to every violator. Answering a question about LDA's planned operation against illegal marriage halls/marquees, he said the authority is going for public advertisement in which all marriage hall/marquee owners will be directed to approach LDA with all related documents. He said all those who didn't comply with the rules, have to change their business; otherwise LDA will take action.

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