LAHORE – Despite lapse of three years, the inquiry committees of Lahore Development Authority formed by the provincial government have failed to complete inquiries for compensation, insiders informed TheNation on Tuesday.
Talking to TheNation, Muhammad Amin said when he contacted the owners of a demolished plaza, situated at Ferozpur Road, they replied that they had spent millions of rupees on the construction with good intention while the government demolished the plazas for which they are not responsible as they also to bear loss worth billions of rupees. They refused to pay back the amount, he added.
The inquiry committees of the LDA also failed to complete and produce reports of 12 demolished plazas so far even after lapse of about three years. Even the committees have not bothered to start the proceedings in this regard to resolve the issue of stakeholders and owners of such plazas. The main objective for the formation of these committees was to prepare suggestions and recommendations for redressing the complaints of stakeholders vis-a-vis compensation, the sources added.
Earlier, the LDA marked 31 plazas for demolition during a crackdown on illegal constructions in the year 2009-10 but they could not prepare assessment report vis-à-vis financial losses despite directions of the provincial government, the sources further added.
The two different committees were constituted by the government; one headed by Justice (r) Amir Raza Khan and the other by the then Lahore Division Commissioner Khusro Pervaiz. Both the committees were constituted for reviewing whether the action taken by government against illegal plazas was justified or not so that the stakeholders could be compensated in case the demolition operation was not justified.
The action against illegally constructed plazas in the City was initiated by the provincial government and LDA on the orders of Supreme Court, which was later halted for indefinite period because different segments of the society including the leaders of different political parties criticised it.
However, fate of hundreds of illegally constructed commercial plazas and shops situated at non-commercial areas of LDA-controlled areas and housing colonies is hanging in balance as the authorities left the issue on discretion of the provincial government.
The sources further informed that the LDA had further banned commercial constructions at main boulevards of Johar Town and Gulshan-e-Ravi so far while the authorities could not decide the fate of plazas and shops, already constructed without the permission of the LDA authorities.
However, on the roads falling in proposed Central Business District and under Lahore Urban Regeneration Studies area, the interim policy issued in November 2009 and April 2010 would remain applicable till the approval of CBD area development plans, they further added.
They said the authorities were making another study in order to finalise their status whether to permit them or not, giving them legal status or to demolish these hundreds of unlawful structures. They said most probably the owners of such structures would be given legal status because demolishing process of such a big number of buildings might be a hard target for the authorities.
In fact, the authorities used to take action against the illegal construction in the LDA controlled areas after completion of such buildings perhaps due to poor mechanism for controlling these illegal constructions before start, they concluded.