LDA razes structures in illegal schemes

CCP launches inquiry to protect citizens from investing in dubious projects

​ Our Correspondent February 07, 2020

LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) continued its operation against illegal housing societies and demolished various structures near Sheikhupura district on Thursday.

Officials of the Estate Management Directorate of private housing schemes conducted raids under supervision of Director Bushra Naseer. LDA staff demolished illegally constructed infrastructure, including office buildings, roads, greenbelts, sewerage system and boundary walls, in Hiran Minar City, Bilal Motorway City, Green Valley, New Civil Lines, Mansoora City, Ajwa Garden Housing Scheme and Almakkah City Housing Scheme.

The authority says it has expedited action against illegal housing societies to safeguard the interest of investors and the general public. The authority has also collaborated with the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to curb deceptive marketing campaigns by private property developers.

The commission has recently initiated suo motto action under Section 37(1) of the Competition Act, 2010 against illegal housing schemes involved in deceptive marketing because the LDA director general had raised concern about this ongoing illegal activity in the provincial capital. The commission is conducting an inquiry to protect citizens from investing in illegal housing societies.

A spokesperson for the CCP highlighted that taking notice of the widespread concerns and complaints regarding the prima facie deceptive marketing practices by various housing schemes in Punjab, the commission had launched an inquiry to see whether they had violated Section 10 of the Competition Act 2010.

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The LDA sated in a letter that 88 housing schemes in Lahore and adjoining districts of Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib were luring investors and the general public through print and TV advertisements to invest in their schemes, without meeting the legal requirements and in violation of the relevant laws. The authority sought a ban on the advertising campaigns of these schemes.

Taking suo motu notice of the complaints and concerns, the CCP has authorised an inquiry team to thoroughly probe affairs of the schemes and submit a report. As part of the investigation, the inquiry team has visited 62 housing schemes to see the situation on the ground and is scheduled to visit the remaining schemes. The team has also met the LDA DG and other officials concerned to explore ways to cooperate and coordinate in the areas of shared interests.

Section 10 of the Competition Act prohibits businesses from indulging in deceptive marketing practices, which also include the dissemination of false or misleading information lacking reasonable basis, deceiving the consumers and harming the business interests of other undertakings. If the violation of Section 10 is proved against the housing schemes, the CCP may issue show cause notices to them under Section 30 of the Competition Act.

The CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity, to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviour, including deceptive marketing practices.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2020.


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