Committee to point out land ‘unfit for housing’

LAHORE, Aug 13: To control mushroom growth of private housing schemes on agriculture zone/green areas, the City District Government of Lahore on Monday constituted an 11-member committee for making recommendations for declaration of Peri-Urban areas through initiating a necessary consultation with all stakeholders.

The Peri-Urban areas mean the land/localities that span the landscape between the contiguous urban development and rural countryside with low population density and are predominately being used for agricultural activity and are likely to be urbanised in the next 20 years.

According to a notification issued by CDGL Administrator/DCO Noorul Amin Mengal, the committee will be headed by Mr Aslam Mughal (president, Institute of Planners Pakistan) whereas Ms Ume Laila Naqvi (district officer, special planning) will be secretary of the committee.

Other members include Waseem Ahmad Khan (chief metropolitan planner, LDA), Mahmood Tamana (CDGL’s municipal services EDO), town officers (planning and coordination, Nishtar and Iqbal towns), an urban unit representative, Riaz Ahmad Chohan (chief executive of Urban Developers) and urban experts Asif Kamal, Sahir Rasheed and Samee Bin Haneef.

The committee will float proposals for earmarking boundaries of Pre-Urban areas of the city district irrespective of the controlled areas of the CDGL and LDA, besides giving valuable suggestions for saving the diminishing character of agriculture land in the city.

“The committee shall ensure that agriculture land/green areas are saved at reasonable levels to provide oxygen to congested localities in the city,” the notification reads.

The committee shall be liable to submit proposals in this regard within two weeks from the date of the notification’s issuance.

And DO (SP) Ms Naqvi being secretary of the committee will act as the focal person and ensure regular meetings of the committee, it says.

CDGL Administrator Mr Mengal told Dawn that the committee had been formed in the light of the decisions taken in a meeting held on July 31. He said the CDGL under the rules would ensure that the land use provisions under permitted, permissible and
prohibited use prescribed for residential, commercial, institutional, industrial and notified areas be strictly followed in accordance with approved Peri-Urban structure plan. He said the CDGL would also notify the area, falling outside the Peri-Urban area as agriculture land in the city. He said the entire exercise was being done to revise the city’s existing and outdated master plan.

According to minutes of the meeting held on July 31 with Lahore Commissioner Jawad Rafique Malik in the chair and attended by MNA Khwaja Saad Rafique, it was unanimously agreed to control mushroom growth of private housing schemes on agriculture land of the city by defining the Peri-Urban areas. “The Peri-Urban structure plans will be prepared as the second step to define the permitted, permissible and prohibited uses for residential, commercial and institutional activities in
Peri-Urban areas. However, as per section 51 of the Punjab Private Housing Scheme Rules no private housing scheme or land sub-division shall be allowed outside Peri-Urban areas,” the minutes report reads.

It quoted DCO Mr Mengal as saying that a committee should be constituted to make recommendations regarding areas that have to be defined as Peri-Urban with clear boundaries and that would be notified by the CDGL. “As the green areas are lungs of the
city, the proposed committee should ensure that they shouldn’t be diminished altogether,” the report quotes DCO as having said in the meeting.

Mr Mengal told this reporter the core objective of the ongoing exercise was to curb abnormal urban growth in Lahore that was consuming even the agriculture land of the city rapidly.