LAHORE: If you have a political clout you can do anything in this country and nobody can dare touch you as ‘rules are made for fools’.
Such is the case of a construction of plaza in violation of by-laws and security risks in Punjab’s metropolitan. A private builder named Bisharat Umer has put hundreds of lives at risk by constructing an illegal multi-storey building in heavily populated area of the City, at Punj Mahal Road, off Mozang Road near Sir Ganga Ram hospital.
Despite court orders, which prohibit such violation of the rules of law, the construction of the plaza goes on uninterrupted. The Administrator, TMA, Data Gunj Baksh Town Lahore, has failed to exercise his authority in compliance with the direction of the Commissioner Lahore Division and District Coordination Officer who have ordered to book the builder.
According to the residents builder Bisharat Umer is backed by MNA Pervaiz Malik and Punjab MPA Majid Zahoor.
During inspection of the site in question, it has been observed that construction at the site has been carried out in violation of the approved building plan with the following deviation of the prevalent Building By-Laws of the TMA.
It has also been found that plot acquired for the construction has yet to be commercialized under the rules. The height of any plaza intended to be built in the residential area cannot exceed 38 feet whereas this plaza has already attained 50 feet height and the builder intends to proceed further.
One of the residents, Sultan Lodhi, says the plaza has become a constant source of risk and danger to life and property of neighbours. He stated that he had already brought this matter to the notice of TMO, Town Planner, TOR of Data Gunj Baksh, Commissioner Lahore Division and Assistant Commissioner. But, the law has yet to take its course, as no action has been taken against this blatant violation.
This is one case of such illegal constructions in the City which is replete with such illegal buildings and plazas. In 2011, the Punjab government planned to constitute a Building Control Authority (BCA) to approve buildings’ maps, regulate construction of residential and commercial buildings, enforce building bylaws and check rampant building violations in 36 districts of the province.
The move came after a full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, had summoned Punjab chief secretary, former district nazim Lahore and Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general in a case regarding illegally constructed high-rise buildings.
But how far the BCA is effective and paving the way for the law to take its course is evident of increasing number of complaints still falling to deaf ears.