Lahore Master Plan to Land Grabbing by DHA & Bahria Town; Infocus Weekly Briefs

by M. Wasim

23 October 2022

Land Encroachments by Bahria Town Karachi & DHA City

The M-9 is the busiest highway in Pakistan connecting Karachi and Hyderabad, however real estate developers have encroached a sizable amount of land along its tracks. According to the report of the Auditor General of Pakistan two real estate giants Bahria Town and Defence Housing Authority have encroached upon 785 kanals of state land along the Motorway. Auditors noticed that irregularity while scrutinising financial affairs of the National Highway Authority (NHA). It has been revealed that Bahria Town Karachi (BTK) encroached upon 491-kanal land and DHA City Karachi grabbed 294 kanal land of the NHA “without any approval of NHA authorities and without entering into lease agreement with NHA”.

Land Grabbing an unnoticed dilemma

M-9 is a six-lane 136-km-long Motorway which was constructed between 2015 and 2018 by expanding the existing Superhighway. The auditors recommended an inquiry for fixing of responsibility on those found responsible besides recovery of dues as per NHA policy. Land encroachments have often been deliberately unnoticed by Karachi civic bodies, but why the NHA didn’t take notice of it, is a a big question mark.

Approval of Lahore Master Plan-2050

The Lahore Master Plan-2050 has been approved by the Chief Minister of Punjab while presiding over the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) governing body meeting this week. In the meeting the consultant also gave a detailed briefing on the Lahore Master Plan-2050 and also discussed economic development, regional strategy and other issues. Stressing the need to consider the residential needs of the growing population of Lahore in the master plan, the Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi said those living on the suburbs would also be provided the same facilities as being enjoyed by the city dwellers to reduce the burden on the metropolis.

Proposal Sought for Lahore Master Plan

Amendments in the LDA Building and Zoning Regulation, 2019 were also approved in the meeting. Besides the CM also gave nod to “one-window” facility for overseas Pakistanis in the housing schemes of the Lahore Development Authority. Because of the one-window facility, overseas Pakistanis would be able to purchase plots from the LDA in a day, and also get the plots transferred in their name the same day. The CM also pointed out that instead of acquiring more agricultural lands, multi-storey buildings should be promoted in next developments.

Pakistan seeks Climate Financing in COP-27

The 2022 UN Climate Change Conference, the COP27, is scheduled to be held from Nov 6 to 18 in Egypt`s Sharm El Sheikh city, where Pakistan would take up the issue of Climate Financing. The first meeting of the Pakistan Climate Change Council has been convened this week in this regard, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Securing climate resilience funds for building capacity and national action plans and strategies is essential for Pakistan after the Pakistan Flood 2022 catastrophe.

The Minister of Climate Change Sherry Rehman said in the meeting that “loss and damages are the consequences of climate change. Therefore we need climate funds that are easy to access, as well as predictable transfers.” While talking about bringing the climate financing agenda at the forefront of the UN meeting Sherry Rehman also said  `The COP27 must capitalise the adaptation fund and introduce agility and speed in countries that need to build resilience”. She also added “Simplified, long-term climate financing instruments are needed to plug severe capacity deficits in the developing countries right now as the protracted periods of pipelining funds lose potency when resilience needs change f aster than the speed of resource dispersion”.

Revival of Rawal Dam Sewage Treatment Plant

The revival of the sewage treatment plant to cater Rawal Dam contamination remained on the back burner for years owing to multiple reasons. However, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has now decided to revive the sewage treatment plants project which would cost approximately Rs 6.2 billion. According to CDA officials, the project would take about 14 months to complete from the date of its inauguration and would treat at least 9.6 million gallons of sewage daily.

Sewage Treatment Plant – Courtesy DAWN

The chairman CDA has given direction the officials concerned to kick-start the project and submit the revised PC-I to the Planning Commission for approval without haste. The chairman was of the view that the project should have been executed years ago as its cost ballooned by Rs2 billion due to inordinate delays and called the increase in the cost a matter of concern. However, the CDA chief was told that the price increased on the back of the steep rise in the exchange rate and inflation.

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