LAHORE: Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has finally banned temporary/annual commercialisation on 18 major city roads and people are told to wind up their businesses till 30th June 2018, according to a report by a private media outlet.
The roads have commercial businesses worth billions of rupees with major local and multinational companies. A strong reaction from the traders is expected in coming days, sources said, adding permanent commercialisation on these roads was already banned.
Commenting on massive alteration/demolition consequent, to this ban, LDA Director General (DG) Zahid said even under temporary commercialisation the owners were not allowed to alter original building design, but in the majority of cases this rule was violated. This step has been taken to cope with the problems associated with increasing commercialisation, he said, adding the LDA will not accept any pressure to withdraw its decision.
Temporary and permanent commercialisation was allowed in past and recent past on the 18 roads despite the fact these roads were declared frozen for any kind of change in land use, LDA sources said, adding LDA had allowed temporary commercialisation on frozen roads whenever it needed money and all future implications were ignored at that time.
To a question that the election is just round the corner and LDA may face political interference in implementation of this decision, the DG said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has given a free hand to LDA for making and implementing policies. He said LDA wants to end temporary commercialisation policy and to achieve this goal LDA will soon suggest amendments to related laws.
On the other hand, traders and business community strongly criticised the decision and said they will go to every extent to get the decision reverted. They said billions of rupees had already been spent on establishment of business outlets, restaurants, marriage halls, marquees and etc. on these main roads while hundreds of thousands of workers and their families are associated with these businesses.