LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has announced it will hand over plots to LDA City file-holders, who have been affected by the project, within eight months. The authority’s announcement is in line with the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
LDA Director General Amna Imran Khan ordered officials concerned to speed up the land procurement process so that plots could be handed over to all 9,000 file holders during the specified timeframe. Presiding over a meeting to review the affairs of LDA City, Amna highlighted that the eight-month timeline set by the Supreme Court of Pakistan started counting down from January 21. She ordered officials to set up a site office and deploy necessary staff to monitor land presentation by the development partners of the project on a daily basis. The objective was to ensure the timely completion of the procurement drive.
A detailed presentation about the current situation of LDA City was given to meeting participants. It was indicated that 13,000 kanals of land, along Butcher Khana Distributary near Ferozepur Road, had been earmarked as Development Area-I where plots for file holders would be carved out.
It was highlighted that the authority already had 8,000 kanals of aforementioned land in hand, while the process to acquire the the remaining 4,500 kanals of land was initiated by the development partners. The LDA director general asked officials to finalise the necessary amendments in the layout plan for LDA City within two days to create a maximum number of plots in the area. She also instructed officials to submit regular progress reports to the court every month.
The LDA chief engineer, meanwhile, stressed the need for a compact chunk of land of considerable area to start development works. Earlier, there was a proposal to start development works in different areas earmarked for the scheme. However, in Tuesday’s meeting, i was decided that the authority would initiate such work on a larger area for its early completion.
Additional Director General (Headquarters) Rana Abdul Shakoor, Additional Director General Urban Planning Rana Tikka Khan, Chief Engineer Mazhar Hussain Khan, Chief Town Planner Syed Nadeem Akhtar Zaidi, Chief Metropolitan Planner Azhar Ali, Director Estate Management Usman Ghani, LDA City Director Fahad Anees and representatives of development partners, including Pak Estate, Maymar, Urban Developers and Alpha Estate, attended the meeting.
The apex court, last month, ordered the formation of a committee to ensure the provision of land or payment of compensation to people affected by LDA City. The court issued this directive during a suo moto hearing at the Lahore registry. Former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar warned that if the LDA City case did not concern widows and orphans, then all bureaucrats involved and owners of the development companies would have been in jail.
The counsel representing the LDA City project, Advocate Ahsan Bhawan, told the court that development companies would provide land for the mega housing project within two to three years. He recommended that the time should be reduced for the provision of land. To this, the former top judge said if these companies did not provide land within a year, their contracts should be cancelled.
Justice Nisar said the land should be acquired expediently and allotted to the affected people. The counsel said that the land acquired up till that point had been transferred to LDA City's name. He further told the court that the companies had sold 9,000 registration files in excess and that 20,000 kanals of land was still needed to hand over to the affected people.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the other member of the bench hearing the case, asked why LDA complete the project on its own. “It is such a big company. It should complete the project itself." To this, the counsel responded by saying that the company lacked the required funds to do so.
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