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Punjab government launches massive assault against illegal construction


News Analysis |

The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) on Tuesday started an anti-encroachment drive across the provincial capital Lahore against land mafia and illegal encroachments. On Monday, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar had directed the authorities to launch a grand operation against land mafia and corrupt elements in Lahore.

After the instructions from Chief Minister,.Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has prepared a list of properties where the operation will take place. Following the directives from PM Khan, the provincial government is clearing the illegal encroachments in Lahore. The incumbent government has started the action under carrot and stick policy.

Punjab government is looking to save the heritage and original fabric of the city to attract more tourists. The illegal occupation has resulted in a negative impact on tourism in the historic city. 

According to the sources, “LDA is going to retrieve 31,687 Kanal state land, 280 acres land of the forest department, eight plots in the Walled City, 636 Kanal land of LDA, and 32 plots worth Rs2 billion of the Metropolitan Corporation Lahore (MCL).” The government has already hatched a plan to plant 50,000 saplings on the retrieved forest department land.

Speaking to media, Deputy Commissioner Lahore Anwar-ul-Haq said,” Two teams consisting of 40 members each have been made. The teams will also have trucks and two loaders.” Temporary and permanent setups in marketplaces will also be removed, for which fire brigades, ambulances, and police contingents will accompany the teams.

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The operation will start from Sabzazar truck stand by one team including LDA and MCL and another team of MCL and WCLA will work in, Anarkali, Willingdon Road, and Urdu Bazaar areas. In the initial stage, Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) will conduct the operation in the walled city against the illegal encroachers who developed/constructed structures unchallenged.

The government has decided to remove these buildings from mafia stronghold including Shahi Hammam and Chowk Wazir Khan etc. Punjab government has already sent the notices to the illegal dwellers in the city. All the necessary arrangements have been made to ensure the smooth execution of a one-month long operation.

The operation will start from affluent and dominant people and will continue without discrimination.

The Lahore High Court’s (LHC) Justice Ali Akbar Qureshi had directed the government to launch the anti-encroachment drive. The government has ordered the encroachers to remove their valuables to avoid any financial loss. Under the previous regimes, a number of ill-hearted operations were launched, which remained unsuccessful because of lack of will and nexus of politicians with police and land mafia.

The incumbent government has made it clear that this time it will not spare anyone regardless of the political affiliations. Punjab government is looking to save the heritage and original fabric of the city to attract more tourists. The illegal occupation has resulted in a negative impact on tourism in the historic city.

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In the first phase of the operation across the country, PTI government started an anti-encroachment drive in the federal capital. The unpopular operations are taking place in the presence of senior officials of police and other relevant departments.

Continuing its anti-corruption drive, Imran Khan has ordered indiscriminate action against the corrupt elements. As promised, the government has extended the operation to provincial capitals. The operation will start from affluent and dominant people and will continue without discrimination.

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