LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has failed to take action against the illegal and unapproved housing societies located in the provincial capital, Pakistan Today has observed.
According to LDA’s data, around 135 small and large housing societies and schemes have been developed in the city. Besides this, many other societies under development are also in violation of LDA rules.
In February this year, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif took notice of rapid development of illegal housing schemes in the city. In a high-level meeting held in this regard, the CM directed the authorities concerned to take indiscriminate actions against such societies.
He was of the view that there must be a proper check on illegal construction as no one would be allowed to loot hard-earned money from the masses.
However, despite directions of the chief minister, LDA officials seem reluctant to take action against illegal housing schemes. Moreover, LDA has warned masses through media ads to restrain themselves from sale and purchase of property in these schemes, but this could not help in restraining people to deal with such schemes.
According to LDA’s recently advertised illegal societies, there are at least 94 societies which started their development without taking approval of LDA. It was announced that owners of 35 societies had just submitted their applications for approval, over which LDA could not take its decision in this regard.
There were five other societies which were not declared legal due to their design.
Sources in LDA told Pakistan Today that in 2015, the number of illegal societies was around 100, which has now been increased to over 180 due to the negligence of the department. They said that LDA had time and again served notices to such societies but remained reluctant to take stern action.
“As these societies are owned by strong land grabbers who are often backed by political bigwigs, LDA management is reluctant to take action against them,” sources said while revealing that LDA moved the court against a score of housing societies, where many cases are pending due to weak legislation. They further said that most of the housing schemes have taken stay orders from the court against LDA.
An official seeking anonymity admitted that LDA failed to take action against such societies due to the powerful land mafia. He revealed that such land mafia was so powerful that it influenced the newspapers to publish their ads against LDA’s. “It often happens that instead of publishing LDA’s ad, newspaper preferred publishing ads of illegal housing societies,” he said, adding that a renowned housing scheme owned by Pakistan’s real estate tycoon, located at Raiwind, was also developed without approval.
“We are committed to taking stern action against such societies but political pressure is the main hurdle in this regard,” he added.