Double exemption plots: Property dealers protest against LDA

 

LAHORE: Dozens of property dealers protested outside the Lahore Development Authority office in Johar Town on Saturday over a new initiative to check so-called ‘double exemption plots’.

While the property dealers decried the initiative as a new avenue for officials to demand bribes for property transfers, as well as an additional bureaucratic delay to already cumbersome transfer procedures, LDA officials defended it as a measure to check corruption among property dealers.

LDA officials said that when the authority acquires some land, it compensates the owner with land elsewhere. In Johar Town, for example, owners of 10 kanals were given three kanals. Often, LDA officials fail to record the transfer at the Land Revenue Department, whether because of corruption or inefficiency. The original owner can then get a new registry for the plot from the Revenue Department and then sell the plot to someone else, who can then claim land in compensation from the LDA. The officials said that this process can be repeated and the government sometimes ended up giving out more land than it acquired. These plots which the LDA acquires on multiple occasions are called double exemption plots.

Several members of the Johar Town Property Dealers Association (PDA) gathered outside the LDA office and chanted slogans denouncing Director for Land Development-1 (DLD) Muhammad Imran Raza Abbasi after learning that the authority was rechecking files for double exemption plots.

LDA Director General Ahad Khan Chema later banned the issuance of urgent challans, which takes about a week, for all property transactions in Johar Town for two months. Officials said that this was because most double exemption transfers occurred in urgent challans. The issuance of routine challans, which takes about 20 days, will continue.

PDA General Secretary Chaudhry Shafqat said that the record for Johar Town had already been checked twice and the latest initiative was simply a scheme for officials to line their pockets. Continue reading

‘Massive’ fraud feared: Johar Town exemption of plots under LDA scrutiny

LAHORE, June 23: The Land Development Wing of the Lahore Development Authority has unearthed several irregularities and frauds in exemption of plots in Johar Town, directing the officials concerned to scrutinize all exemption cases.

The exemption of plots means the developed plots that are given under the law to those who surrender their land to the LDA at the time of developing any new residential scheme.

The probe was ordered by the LDA Director General Ahad Cheema after he received several complaints on the issue, it is learnt.

Sources told Dawn that when the Johar Town scheme was launched in 1986, many landholders surrendered their land to the LDA (after their land was declared in the award list as included in scheme under the Land Acquisition Act.)

“Though the LDA gave plots to each landowner under the law, most of them succeeded in getting plots again through forged revenue documents in connivance with corrupt LDA staff and agents/property dealers,” an insider requesting anonymity told this reporter.

He said similarly there were also some landlords who didn’t surrender their land but filed petitions in various courts of law against the LDA and the quarters concerned. He said there were several cases in which the landowners succeeded in getting plots twice from the LDA by having their original files disappeared, tempering record related to Khsara number (agriculture land number in revenue record), changing the property title and making new files of their properties with fake names etc in connivance with LDA officials.

He said the Johar Town was the scheme where the land mafia looted the LDA with both hands in dozens of cases related to exemption of plots. He said at the moment the officials concerned were finding fraud in every second file related to exemption of plots. “Most of the people have succeeded in getting plots through double exemption,” LDA Director (Land Development-I) Muhammad Imran Raza Abbasi said

He said as the probe was underway. The DG had banned entry of all irrelevant government and private officials in all offices (except the one-window cell situated outside the main building) of the LDA’s Johar Town Complex. He said an effective strategy was also being worked out in order to capture those who succeeded in getting exemption plots twice from the LDA. The official said the LDA had also made transparent the system/mechanism dealing with such cases. Continue reading

PHA residents to pay for civic amenities

ISLAMABAD, June 23: The residents of 1,600 Pakistan Housing (PHA) apartments in the capital city have been asked to pay up to Rs2,000 as a monthly fee for availing of basic amenities, Dawn has learnt.

The PHA has some 3,100 apartments across the country and all the residents have to pay the new fee to be charged under the head of civic services.

The PHA used to construct these apartments and sell to the federal government employees on an ownership basis.

According to a copy of the notification issued by the PHA management, the residents of B category houses having three bedrooms will have to pay Rs2,000, C category with two bedrooms Rs1,500 and two-bedroom D category houses Rs1,000.

The commercial area shop owners will also have to pay Rs1,000.

The services offered by the PHA include maintenance services for electrification, plumbing, sewage, sweeping facilities and overall cleanliness of the scheme area, proper and regular maintenance of water tanks and provision of security.

The PHA management, according to the notification, will also impose Rs100 monthly fine in case any resident failed to pay the bill.

“The no objection certificate of the management services wing, which will provide civic services, will be made mandatory for transfer of PHA flats or shops to the new owners,” said the notification.

A resident, Syed Haider Ali, said: “Water is hardly available in PHA, G-11 sector, which shows that the authority is not paying proper attention to the civic needs of the residents.”

He said the PHA residents’ societies were providing the residents with garbage collection facility, electricity bills for lampposts, security, besides Continue reading