The credit for the aesthetic infrastructural development in Lahore goes in large part to the Lahore Development Authority. With an aim to transform Lahore, the City of Gardens, enriched with a vibrant history, into a world-class city, LDA has committed itself to providing unparalleled public service delivery. Under the remit of the Housing & Urban Development & Public Health Engineering Department of the Government of the Punjab, LDA intends to pursue infrastructure and urban development in the city of Lahore whilst preserving its rich culture and legacy. The Lahore Development Authority has actively undertaken a plethora of initiatives and projects with the objective of modernising Lahore. For this purpose, LDA, established under the LDA Act 1975, functions primarily across three broad divisions: TEPA; Urban Development; and WASA. Some of the salient initiatives and projects, earmarked for or undertaken in 2021, have been detailed below.
Regulations for Private Housing Schemes
LDA has consciously made an effort to develop and implement its Private Housing Scheme Regulations. These are geared towards facilitating and providing guidelines to the general public, alongside assisting developers and investors. As a result of extensive discussions with various stakeholders, and with the assistance of urban development and urban planning specialists, the draft of these regulations has been formulated for further review. The civil society, general public, relevant officials from government departments, and various stakeholders were invited to review the draft regulations and offer their feedback and opinions in writing on the same. Following the comprehensive consultative process, the final version is now available, for easy access by the public, prior to substantive decision-making, on the Lahore Development Authority's Website.
LDA City & Naya Pakistan Apartments
The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Imran Khan, envisaged the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme as an initiative to provide the citizens of the country with 5 Million Housing Units. For Lahore, this initiative is being undertaken by the Lahore Development Authority, with an aim to construct and provide 35,000 Apartments to the inhabitants of Lahore. In this regard, the first Lucky Draw was held on April 21, 2021, wherein approximately 2,000 government applicants were approved for balloting. Of these 2,000 applicants, 800 are employees of the Government of the Punjab, 400 are employees of the Government of Pakistan, whereas the remaining 800 are employees of autonomous and other government agencies and departments. Following the balloting, successful applicants must obtain clearance from a designated bank, along with a No-Objection Certificate, in order to secure a home for themselves within Naya Pakistan Apartments under an Islamic Mortgage Facility. This initiative, in general, is earmarked to cater to lower and working class households, i.e. where the monthly income does not exceed PKR 50,000. The next ballot is expected to be soon held after Eid-ul-Fitr 2021, and LDA updates it website periodically in this regard.
Enhancing the Ease of Doing Business
Alongside spearheading great development projects, LDA frequently conducts seminars for the benefit of the public and to ensure the public enjoys ease in doing business in Lahore. For this purpose, in February 2021, a seminar on ‘Ease of Doing Business under LDA's Building & Zoning Regulations’ was organised to communicate the changes made in LDA's 2019 Building & Zoning Regulations. This platform was also used to formalise the approval of 42 out of the 117 commercial applications received by LDA, and to issue Completion Certificates to four of the buildings approved under the plan. The seminar witnessed an overwhelming turnout, and raised the interest of many seeking to invest in the construction in Lahore.
Establishment of Education Institutions
LDA has been exceedingly proactive in facilitating the enhancement of the education system in Lahore. With limitless assistance and wide-ranging benefits offered to the owners of education institutions and networks, the Lahore Development Authority has endeavoured to create a truly comfortable living and learning environment for the residents of Lahore. These benefits include a reduction by almost half of the commercialisation fees levied by LDA on properties to be converted into education institutions, along with a facility for the payment of these fees in instalments spanning up to three years. Moreover, a discount of 5% is offered, to the investor/owner, upon early payment of the fee. This, however, is coupled with necessary increased vigilance by LDA to ensure the properties converted on discounted rates are not used for any other activities.
Compliance Status of Housing Schemes
For the facilitation and information of the general public, as well as investors, LDA maintains updated lists of housing societies on its website. Among these is the list of all the housing projects and societies approved by the Lahore Development Authority. This is particularly useful when one wants to sift through and identify the plethora of projects and schemes falsely claiming to have attained LDA's endorsement. Alongside this, another list identifies all housing projects and schemes that have specifically been deemed illegal by LDA, so as to caution the general public from investing therein. These types of initiatives, and lists, generate considerable goodwill among the residents, and create a law-abiding atmosphere where all real estate developments and projects endeavour to comply with LDA's by-laws rather than arbitrarily ignoring them.
Mega Projects by the Chief Minister
Headed by the Chief Minister of the Punjab, Mr. Usman Buzdar, a meeting was held by the Lahore Development Authority for discussion on and addition of multiple mega projects to the Chief Minister's Lahore Development Package. These include three flyovers to be built, with one at Karim Block Crossing, one at Shahkam Chowk, and one at Sheranwala Gate. The meeting also entailed discussions on the construction of an underpass in front of Ghulab Devi Hospital on Ferozepur Road. According to report published in Dawn News, the estimated cost of all these initiatives is over PKR 20.5 Billion, and their groundbreaking may be expected in late April or early May 2021. The Lahore Development Authority has been tasked with undertaking these projects at an accelerated rate, so as to swiftly deliver added convenience vis-a-vis mobility and transport.