Most lucrative real estate

There is this arbitrary policy of LDA regarding commercialization of premises facing the Lahore Canal on service road. The premises were permitted commercial use in the past based on payment of an annual charge or 3-5 years charges for commercialization. However, since the enforcement of new land use policy in 2009, LDA does not permit further commercial use of properties that were commercialized on an annual basis. But significant development has taken place on these properties during the past decades and now these properties are not fit to be used as residential buildings short of demolishing them and disposing off as urban residential land. The new policy permits the continuous commercial use of properties in the same area that pay maximum commercialization fee. This disparity between the annual payers of fee and the maximum payers of fee for commercial use of properties is not based on principles of justice and equity as all land owners who are prepared to pay the commercialization fee ought to be treated alike. The properties cannot be used for residential purposes now. It appears the LDA is forcing the owners to sell their properties at discounted rates by hanging the Sword of Damocles over their head. That is not being people-friendly as other policies of the Chief Minister Punjab. -DR M. YAQOOB BHATTI, Lahore, June 17

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