TMA declares Bahria Town Lahore sectors illegal

* Development work, constructions against the provisions of law

Media Times Investigation Unit

LAHORE: The competent authority has declared “Bahria Orchard phase –II, Sector D E & F of Bahria Town, Lahore” as illegal, stating the construction work of these projects was “in violation of provisions of Punjab Private Housing Schemes and Land sub-division Rules, 2010.”

The documents available to Media Times Investigation Unit tell that Bahria Town administration approached TMA Iqbal Town Administration for extension in its existing housing scheme ‘Bahria Town Housing Scheme’ that was rejected by the TMA. The matter was taken to high court and was remanded back to the TMA that was rejected by the officers concerned.

The Bahria Town filed an appeal to the competent authority, secretary to the government of Punjab, Local Government & Community Development Department. The provincial Secretary heard the case where Bahria Town council pleaded that they had submitted Housing Scheme along with lay out plan namely “Bahria Orchad, Bahria Town” for land measuring 3737 Kanals 11 marla situated at mouza Paji and Raiwind Road, Lahore for approval to the TMA, Iqbal Town on April 24, 2009.

The TMA sanctioned the above mentioned scheme after scrutinising vide letter on July 28, 2009. Thereafter, appellant had submitted Housing Scheme namely ‘Bahria Town Housing Scheme’ along with revised additional layout plan for land measuring 14243 Kanals and 4 marla situated in mouza Maraka, Jaliana, Bhalia Gill, Muqadam Singh, Rakh Sultanke and Taro Gill, Lahore for approval to the TMA on May 20, 2009. TMA sanctioned the above mentioned scheme after scrutinising vide letter dated October 11, 2011. The Bahria Town administration had made application from time to time for extension in the approved scheme to the TMA and the same were approved.

The Bahria Town Administration pleaded that the project was fully developed Housing Scheme with complete infrastructure and large number of houses had been constructed there. They claimed that they had purchased the land measuring 6814 kanals, 19 marla and 98 sqf for the expansion of Bahria Housing Scheme falling in mouza Maraka, Jaliana, Bhalie Gill, Rakh Sultanke and Taro Gill, Canal Road, Lahore.

The Bahria Town submitted an application for the approval of Sector D & E in the already sanctioned scheme, “Bahria Town Housing Scheme” along with layout plan, survey plan, khasra plan and ownership document. The TMA administration rejected the application of extension on February 18, 2013 on the sole ground that the petitioner had failed to provide the documents mentioned in the order.

The Bahria Town administration filed a writ petition (WP 13666/13) before the Lahore High Court against the decision of TMA Iqbal Town Administration. Bahria Town pleaded that the TMA’s decision was non speaking order and passed without hearing them.

The court heard the arguments of the parties and passed an order: “Be that as it may and without going into the merits of the case or recording any finding about maintainability of this petition, I am inclined to refer this matter back to the Town Officer with the direction to hear the petitioner, examine the entire record and pass a fresh order on the application dated February 16, 2013 filed by the petitioner in accordance with law recording reasons for the same.”

On receiving this order of the honourable High Court, the TMA administration sent a notice to the Bahria Town Administration for personal hearing and examining the entire record. The Bahria Town through a letter asked the TMA to give them a list of all required documents. The TMA sent a letter to the Bahria Town requiring the documents mentioned in the letter as per rule 5 of the Punjab Private Housing Scheme and Land Sub Division Rules, 2010.

The Bahria Town sought two-week times for the preparation of required financial statement on the plea that their head office was situated in Rawalpindi and chief executive of the company was out of country. The TMA did not agree with the arguments and rejected the application of Bahria Town.

Contradicting the arguments of Bahria Town before the Secretary Local Government & Community Development Department, TMO, TMA Allama Iqbal Town representative stated that “the layout plan namely ‘Bahria Orchard phase-II (LOC)’ situated at Mouza Manak, Raiwind Road, Lahore is not approved by the TMA.”

He said that Bahria Town started construction work in the scheme “illegally, un-authorised in clear violation of the Punjab Local Government Ordinance, 2011 as well as the Punjab Private Housing Schemes and Land Sub Division Rules, 2010.” He said that the TMA had issued notices to Bahria Town on 3 May, 2013 asking to “stop immediately construction work and to demolish the all illegal structures within three days.” The TMA had never sanctioned ‘Bahria Orchad phase-II (LOC)’ neither issued approval letter to Bahria Town in this respect.

The TMA further argued that Bahria Town obtained approval of sector A, B and C of the Bahria Town Housing Scheme only and did not approve sector D, E and F. The constructions in those sectors were illegal, unauthorised in clear violations of the law. These constructions were made in violation of rules 13 & 34 of Punjab Private Housing Schemes and Sub Division Rules, 2010.

The Bahria Town rebutted the TMA, Iqbal Town arguments saying they had provided the proof of ownership of land measuring 1400 kanals. The sale deed of remaining land had not been executed due to ban imposed by the government as it had been seized vide notification dated June 6, 2012. The Bahria Town said the bank statement would be provided by them. The TMA has to accord preliminary planning permission only and the rules 13 and 34 were not applicable in this case.

The competent authority after hearing the arguments and examining the entire record rejected the plea of Bahria Town and declared its development work against the rules. In his decision, the secretary Local Government & Community Development Department wrote, “after hearing the parties and perusal of the record carefully, it is observed that appellant started the development works in these sectors without approval of the TMA in violation provisions of Punjab Private Housing Schemes and Sub Division Rules, 2010. Appellant also failed to provide the documents of ownership of the proposed site and bank statement. Appeal is therefore rejected being not maintainable.”Daily Times

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