CDGL forms body Illegal housing schemes to be regulated

LAHORE, Aug 26: The City District Government of Lahore (CDGL) has formed a committee to suggest measures to regulate illegal housing schemes.

According to a notification issued by the CDGL, the measure will help boost the real estate sector.

CDGL administrator and DCO Noorul Amin Mengal has formed a conflict resolution committee through a notification.

The committee, headed by Mr Mengal, includes the district officer of special planning (focal person), the LDA chief metropolitan planner, the CDGL executive district officer of municipal services, the Institute of Planners Pakistan’s president, University of Engineering and Technology’s City and Regional Planning Department (CRPD) chief and three representatives of private schemes’ developers, including Defence Housing Authority (DHA).

“A number of illegal private housing schemes are operating in the city of Lahore out of which 102 schemes have been identified and publicized by the CDGL as well as LDA,” reads the notification.

“It has also created unrest and harassment among the buyers of plots and residents living in such unapproved schemes. So in order to redress the grievances/concerns of stakeholders, a conflict resolution committee is hereby notified with immediate effect.”

It says that the committee will examine the issues related to private housing schemes and probe whether the violations made by their developers can be regularized or not. The committee will draft necessary recommendations and amendments in the relevant rules (if required).

Real estate experts say that the government will have to regulate all such schemes as most of their developers have either disappeared or died.

“Now, the matter is between the authorities and the residents or plot buyers as most of the developers don’t exist,” UET CRPD Chairman Dr Ghulam Abbas told Dawn.

He said illegal housing schemes were more than 102 as identified by the CDGL and the LDA. He said in 1990 while writing a thesis for his MSC degree, he had found 113 illegal housing schemes, mostly in Shahdra and Kot Abdul Malik. He said as at that time 100 kanals were mandatory for developing a residential scheme. But developers flouted the rule and
developed schemes on less than 100 kanals without the approval of the authorities.

He said at present most of such schemes had been developed by MPAs and other public representatives as their developers had disappeared. He said he would recommend examining all schemes and ensure the availability of necessary facilities there besides allowing the investors and residents to do sale and purchase of their properties if they desired to do so.

Association of Builders and Developers Chairman Asif Kamal held the government responsible for the growth of unlawful housing schemes in the city.

“Government’s negligence has not only affected the residents and investors at large but also hit the real estate business in legal residential societies in the provincial metropolis,” he told Dawn.

He said the government’s ban on the transfer of land, granting approval on developing schemes and purchase of land for schemes had also caused mushroom growth of illegal schemes.“What is the harm if someone legally wants to develop a scheme or purchase a land?” he said.

He said the committee should also identify elements behind such schemes and recommend action against them. He said the committee should also review the existing city’s master plan and recommend lifting bans on land business with immediate effect in order to streamline the city’s residential affairs.

Committee secretary Ume Laila Naqvi said the CDGL wanted to streamline real estate issues through involving stakeholders. She said the committee will meet after return of the DCO from South Korea on September 1