LAHORE: Over 375 kanals of land have been presented to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) in the current month to carve out plots for LDA City.
According to the authority, besides development partners, private landowners have also started presenting land to the LDA City housing project, which is years behind its original development schedule.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan specified a period of eight months to carve out plots for over 9,000 file-holders of LDA City. These owners had been struggling for a long time to get their own piece of land, even after making payments to the city developer.
LDA Additional Director General (Urban Planning) Rana Tikka Khan urged the development partners to increase efforts to meet the deadline set by the court. In a meeting with the representatives of all four development partners, who called on him on Wednesday, the additional DG asked them to allot the maximum amount of land. He said this exercise should be completed within the timeline set by the court. The authority would be authorised to acquire the remaining land after this period, he pointed out.
The meeting participants were informed that 34 contractors and engineering firms have expressed their interest to carry out development works in LDA City Phase-1, spreading over 13,000 kanals. Their applications for prequalification were being scrutinised and soon after, the execution of development would be approved by LDA.
Early this year, the apex court ordered the formation of a committee to ensure either the provision of land to file holders or payment of compensation.
The court had issued this order during a suo motu hearing at the SC Lahore registry. Former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar warned that if widows and orphans were not involved in the LDA City case, all the bureaucrats and owners of development companies involved would have been in jail by now.
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 time for the provision of land be reduced. To this, the former top judge said if the companies failed to provide the required land within a year, their contracts should be cancelled.
The Former CJ urged that speedy acquisition of the land so it could be allotted to the affected people.
The counsel continued that land acquired up till that point had been transferred to LDA City's name. He told the court that the companies had sold 9,000 registration files in excess and that 20,000 kanals of land was still needed.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan, the other member of the bench hearing the case, asked why LDA couldn’t complete the project on its own. “It is such a big company. It should complete the project itself." To this, the counsel for LDA responded by saying the company lacked the necessary funds.