Lahore - When it comes to see the practical suitability of the precedent “dark under the lamp”, the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) fits it well. Despite Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif’s restless efforts and stern orders to eliminate dengue breeding spots, which are killing six to 10 people daily, the LDA is turning a blind eye towards the big pond abounding with massive stagnant water and piles of filth near the Expo Centre, Johar Town.
The pond was located at 1,123 kanals chunk of land where the LDA was bracing to establish the first ever planned business hub of international standards called the Finance and Trade Centre but LDA DG Abdul Jabbar Shaheen was unmoved so far. The CM raised an army of parliamentarians and government officials by launching the “Dengue Mukao” drive last month. LDA was also tasked to abolish ponds proving as dengue safe heavens. But a big pond was situated at LDA’s own land near the Finance and Trade Centre at the Expo Centre but its DG Abdul Jabbar Shaheen never bothered to take any action.
“LDA DG Abdul Jabbar Shaheen is working like “a wolf in sheep clothes” in the CM’s team and appears to have planned to foil the mega anti-dengue campaign,” a senior LDA official told Pakistan Today. He said that the CM did not need enemies, as people like the LDA DG was in his rank and file who were presenting “yes reports” and practically doing nothing to end the dengue mess.
In the presence of a gigantic pond of water and garbage, recently the LDA auctioned out at around Rs 1 billion of 90 kanals land of the Finance and Trade Centre near the Expo Centre. The pond has really overshadowed the Finance and Trade Centre, which was selected keeping in view its proximity from the Motorway, Southern Bye-pass and other major intercity roads of the city to facilitate easy movement of the business community from other cities.
An official in the LDA Town Planning Branch said that specialised facilities for carrying out different types of major businesses would be provided in the Finance and Trade Centre for making it a nucleus of commercial activities. “LDA has allocated a sum of Rs 500 million in the current budget for construction of wide roads and improvement of basic infrastructure in the area, for this purpose,” he added.
Scheme planning for setting-up various ventures in the area has also been finalised. Besides construction of corporate office and IT Tower, a superstore would also be built on 90 kanals, a five star hotel on 114 kanals, bank square on 69 kanals, a health club on 27 kanals, a hospital on 25 kanals, a mosque on five kanals, recreation area on 75 kanals, parking and mini golf club on 32 kanals and a park and lake on 42 kanals. Around 40 kanals have been reserved for multi-storey apartments, eight kanals for the service area and 388 kanals for roads. The commercial area of the centre would be on 111 kanals and a corporate office and LDA tower on 101 kanals.
Plots in the finance and trade centre will be sold through open auction by LDA. In the first phase, open auction of plots reserved for setting up a five star hotel as well as an international super store, in the Finance and Trade Centre, Johar Town, had been already held on October 5. LDA also relaxed building bye-laws for encouraging construction of high-rise buildings in the Finance and Trade Centre. LDA will frame special building regulations for its finance and trade centre. Work on the project would be initiated after a subsoil survey of the site and getting an NOC from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Under the prevalent building regulations, four basements could be built on a plot measuring more than four kanals. At the new centre, five basements would be allowed. The mandatory open side space on a plot measuring more than 20 kanals will be 15 feet compared to 20 feet elsewhere. No height limit was being proposed for buildings to be constructed in the area.