Meeting reviews proposals to regularise commercial use of agricultural land

LAHORE  -  Punjab Local Government Minister Zeeshan Rafique on Monday chaired the meeting of special committee on commercial use of agriculture land, formed by Chief Minister Punjab Maryam Nawaz Sharif, in which proposals to regularise the commercial use of agricultural land were considered in length. Co-Convenor, Agriculture Minister Syed Ashiq Hussain Kirmani, Secretary Local Government Shakeel Ahmed Mian, Secretary Law Asif Bilal Lodhi, Special Secretary Local Government Asia Gul and representatives of real estate business association participated. During the meeting, representatives of real estate association put their views before the committee. Addressing the meeting, Local Government Minister Zeeshan Rafique said that Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif wanted a solid and long-lasting policy to be made in consultation with all stakeholders for economic use of agriculture land. He pointed-out that commercialisation of agricultural land without planning was also a threat to the environment. Zeeshan Rafique said that it was necessary to regularise residential projects without approval. “A new law will be made to monitor the master plan of commercial projects. Under the proposed law, all matters will be monitored from a single platform,” he said. The real estate representatives agreed to the committee’s agenda and assured their cooperation, however they requested that there should be further consultation before taking a final decision, the minister added. Zeeshan Rafique said that the employment of many people was directly or indirectly attached to the real estate business. “So it is equally important to safeguard investors’ capital”, he added. He further said that non-regularisation of illegal schemes harmed public interest and invited uncertainty. “Actions in this regard will be ensured and suggestions from the real estate sector will also be taken into consideration”, he pledged. Agriculture Minister Syed Ashiq Hussain Kirmani said that multiple government agencies’ involvement created complications for both buyers and sellers. He said that the aim of the Punjab government was to ensure the protection of the interests of the people under single authority. Kirmani said that the practice of building high-rise buildings on a small area should be promoted so that the need of a large population could be met in a minimum use of land. He also said that it was important to take early steps for food security. “That is why the chief minister formed this committee”, he added. Meanwhile, the minister visited Islampura area of ??Lahore. He inspected ongoing development schemes at Union Council 73, Dataganj Bakhsh Town. Deputy Commissioner Lahore Rafia Haider, Chief Officer Metropolitan Corporation Lahore Ali Abbas Bukhari, Assistant Commissioner City Rai Babar and MO Infrastructure Mian Saqib were also present. Administrator MCL/Deputy Commissioner Lahore gave a briefing to the provincial minister. The Local Government Minister directed the DC Lahore to complete the sewerage work before the rainy season. He stressed that the instructions of the chief minister to pay special attention to the backward areas should be taken into account while making the schemes. Zeeshan Rafique said that after the completion of the revamping plan, broken streets and drains would not be seen in Lahore and directed that there should be no compromise on the quality and speed of the development work. The minister directed Chief Officer Ali Abbas Bukhari to monitor all the work himself.

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