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Apportion parking spaces, LDA tells builders

CTP reveals 59 buildings' parking vehicles on roads; 19 have stay orders

Lahore Development Authority’s (LDA) Chief Town Planner informed the Lahore High Court on Friday that all the new buildings and plazas being constructed in the provincial capital have been strictly ordered to specify parking areas under the new Master Plan.

The Chief Town Planner disclosed that “59 buildings’ parking has been set up on the roads out of which 19 buildings have secured stay orders from the local courts over their illegal acts”. He made this disclosure before Justice Shahid Karim of the LHC seized with the hearing of the petitions seeking directives for the government authorities to take steps to overcome the issue of smog in the province.

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“LDA took much time to push the city [Lahore] to this stage of destruction and now it should take out some time to make it better,” remarked Justice Karim, with directions to the authorities concerned to come up with the details about buildings whose parking arrangements were made on the roads. Justice Karim also remarked that “the situation cannot be bettered until the improvement of public transport”. The CTP, however, told the court that in the policy documents of the Master Plan, the builders were instructed to provide sufficient space for parking.

He said that the data of the students of 59 schools who caused traffic mess in the city was also sought. “It is injustice with Lahore city that the plazas have not provided parking areas for the people visiting them,” said the CTP, regretting over the worsening situation of the traffic jams and parking issues. Advocate Syed Muazzam Ali Shah, the counsel for the petitioner, argued that the laws regarding parking lots with the public and private buildings already existed but unfortunately both the public and private buildings and plazas did not provide specific areas for parking.

The counsel said that parking on the roads not only caused traffic mess in the city but also polluted the air.  He also submitted that the use of the approved building for ‘other purposes’ also caused environmental problems. During the proceedings, Justice Karim also expressed serious concerns over failure of the authorities concerned to implement the orders given to stop the farmers from setting the crops’ residue on fire.

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The judge summoned deputy commissioners of four districts of the Punjab including Gujranwala, Kasur, Okara and Hafizabad where he was informed that the remains of the crops were being burnt in the fields. The judge observed that the School Education department should step forward and run an awareness campaign among the children.  He also observed that the students should be trained through internship programs to deal with the environmental problems.

The court also remarked that heatwave was another threat to the safety of their cities and expressed serious concerns over burning residue in four districts of Punjab including Gujranwala, Kasur, Okara and Hafizabad. The court also sought an implementation report from the authorities concerned and put off further hearing till September 18.

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