KP sends up plot allocation letters to media in Swat

KP sends up plot allocation letters to media in Swat

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mehmood Khan gave plot allocation letters to journalists in Swat on Monday, December 5, according to news reports.

In the Swat district, there was a ceremony where the journalists were given the ownership letters. According to the information, the plots are in the Dangram Housing Scheme, which covers 500 kanals. Out of all the plots, the government has given 71 plots of 5 marlas each to the journalists of district Swat, but they have to pay for them themselves.

Read more with EL news: Farmers protest forcible land acquisition in Ravi

CM Mehmood spoke at the event and said that the provincial government is working with local governments to help people get affordable housing. He said that journalists are important to society and that their well-being is important as well. He said that the government will make sure that more projects like this one get started so that low-income families can have decent places to live.

Under the Naya Pakistan Housing Project, the KP government has started a number of housing-related projects in the province (NPHP). Under the project, the government gives people a 20-year mortgage option for low-cost homes.

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Farmers protest forcible land acquisition in Ravi

Farmers protest forcible land acquisition in Ravi

Farmers protested and held a rally in the Ravi project area on Tuesday after a team from the Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda), the revenue department, and the police went there to take possession of the land that the government “bought” for the Ravi project.

Read more with EL news: CDA accuses Quaid-i-Azam University of ‘exploiting’ Bhara Kahu project

Women and children, who were among the protesters, first gathered in their own villages and chanted against the government. Later, they all met up on the Kala Khatai Road (near Shahdra) and burned old tyres and blocked the highway to protest what they said was the government department’s use of fake mutations to take land by force.

A Ruda spokesman, on the other hand, said that the farmers’ claim was false because the land had been legally taken by the authority after the Land Acquisition Act was followed.

On the other hand, the farmers say that Ruda’s action is illegal because the courts have already put a stop to it.

They also spoke out against the arrest of five farmers, like Sajjad Warraich and Babu Bhatti, and asked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to help solve the problem.

“When Ruda and the police got to the project area, they started ploughing the fields with tractors to take the farmers’ land. The farmers did something about it and held protests. They also stopped traffic on the Kala Khatai Road for three hours, which messed up the flow of traffic. Later, the police let everyone out of jail except Sajjad Warraich. We don’t know where he is now,” Mustafa Rasheed, the head of the Kissan Action Committee, told Dawn.

“Even though they (the officials) ploughed the fields and took the land, the farmers will soon get it back from them,” he said.

But a Ruda spokesman put an end to that idea by saying that the operation was done legally to try to get the land back that the government had bought.

“We’ve bought almost 90% of the land there is” (in phase-1). Few farmers are fighting back, and the amount of land they are legally allowed to have is much less than what they really have. Even though the government had already put the money in the treasury, these few farmers have not yet received checks for their compensation, he said.

He said that these farmers, including Mr. Warraich, have personal and political reasons for being against the project, and that they wanted to make it controversial.

“When we call them (farmers), they don’t show us the papers that prove they own the land they have. “So, what will we do if something like that happens?” asked the spokesman. But he agreed with the idea of putting together a high-level committee to look into these problems.

In the meantime, a Ruda press release from Tuesday says that the authority has paid the farmers the full price for the project land. It says that the state land was given to Ruda by the Punjab Board of Revenue (BoR) after Ruda paid for it.

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CDA accuses Quaid-i-Azam University of 'exploiting' Bhara Kahu project

CDA accuses Quaid-i-Azam University of ‘exploiting’ Bhara Kahu project

ISLAMABAD—On Tuesday, a lawyer for the Capital Development Authority (CDA) said that the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), which has gone to court to stop the Bhara Kahu bypass from being built on university land, is trying to get a “undue advantage” in exchange for letting the project go forward.

Read more with EL news: CDA decided to remove intrusions from trade centers

CDA’s lawyer, Hafiz Arafat Ahmed, was arguing before Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) about a petition from the university’s faculty against a project that would split the QAU campus in two.

The lawyer said that the project started after getting all the necessary approvals and that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was done while the case was still before the IHC.

He said that the project was first thought up by the National Highway Authority (NHA), and the Pakistan-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also did an EIA on it (Pak-EPA). But the federal government couldn’t find the money, so the bypass project was put on hold.

He said that the CDA tried again about a year ago, but the Pak-EPA didn’t give the project the green light. He said that the EIA was recently approved by the Pak-EPA.

The petitioner said that the CDA was hurting the environment and cutting down trees. The lawyer for the CDA told the court that he has “footage of the site before the project started and the most recent one.” Advocate Arafat said that the professors were trying to take advantage of the situation to get benefits that the university didn’t deserve.

QAU demands ‘illogical’

He told everyone what the university had asked for during the first meetings about the bypass project.

The university asked that the land set aside for the Bhara Kahu bypass not be given to the CDA. Instead, it should stay in the hands of QAU, along with the right of way. But the lawyer said that since the CDA bought the land for the bypass and was in charge of keeping it up, the university would not get the title to this land.

He said that the university’s second request was for a letter of allotment for the promised 225 Kanals of land to be sent out within 24 hours. The lawyer said that this will be done the way the law says it should be.

He said that the authority agreed to build an underpass at Shahdra Road and a 24-foot-wide service road on each side of the bypass. He also said that the request to build a smaller underpass was not “feasible.”

He told the court that the government agency was ready to build a new road from Murree Road to QAU, which will give the university its own main entrance.

The lawyer also said that a request that the “CDA Board will consider a dedicated “Green Line Route” from Bhara Kahu to QAU to Bari Imam and to the Secretariat Metro Station” and a shuttle service from Bhara Kahu’s main terminal to QAU with a 50% discount for students has nothing to do with what the university is supposed to do.

In response to the demand that encroachments be removed, the CDA lawyer said that the local government will try to get rid of all encroachments on QAU’s land, as long as QAU shares detailed information and maps and after the land has been clearly marked.

The lawyer for the CDA also said that the request to renew the lease for 33 years without any fees was not fair.

He also said it made no sense to ask the federal cabinet to “waive the outstanding amount against the land lease, annual ground rent, and property tax” and to ask for a Rs500 million bailout package.

Also, the counsel said, “one student hostel will be built through the Higher Education Commission Pakistan’s Umbrella Project,” because that was not the CDA’s job. He said that building an academic block, allowing a portion of its land to be used for mixed purposes (such as a community centre, gas station, residential complex, or “education city”), and paying for these projects with private money have nothing to do with education. He said that trying to get these extra benefits is the same as taking advantage of the situation.

The lawyer also said that the CDA had to do something about noise pollution and plant trees, which was another problem that the QAU had with the project.

During the hearing, the petitioner’s lawyer said that the bypass project put at risk Rs10 billion in funding for a project that would build the China-Pakistan Joint Research Center on Earth Sciences. Justice Aurangzeb said that neither the petitioners nor the university were thinking about how the project would hurt the environment.

Aziz Nishtar, the lawyer for the petitioner, told the court that he had asked Pak-EPA to look into the project in a letter. Justice Aurangzeb pointed out that the letter in question had not been brought to court, and he told the lawyer to ask for help from the same forum. He said, “This is a court of record, so we can’t look at any letter that’s floating around.”

The court put off hearing this case again until December 9.

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CDA decided to remove intrusions from trade centers

CDA decided to remove intrusions from trade centers

Shahjahan Khan, Deputy Director General of Enforcement for the Capital Development Authority (CDA), said on December 5 that the authority is working on a plan to get rid of the problem of encroachments in trade centers around the city.

Read more with EL news: Shared updates on the redevelopment of the Kalma Chowk Underpass


Deputy Director General Khan said this at a press conference after meeting with a group from the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). He said that the Enforcement Directorate had already surveyed key marketplaces to find illegal businesses. A plan is already being made to remove illegally built structures and encroachments from all over the city. He said that the CDA is doing everything it can to make it easy and safe to do business in the capital city.

Mr. Khan went on to say that the government is in touch with local business groups and has decided to get their help before starting the operation. The project will involve removing things that are in the way of sidewalks and moving some showrooms to a better place. Il was pointed out that the operation would bring back Islamabad’s elegance, which had been taken over by illegal business.

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Shared updates on the redevelopment of the Kalma Chowk Underpass

Shared updates on the redevelopment of the Kalma Chowk Underpass

Lahore: The Punjab Central Business District Development Authority (PCBDDA) told a news source on December 6 that it has finished more than 560 piles so far in the renovation of the Kalma Chowk Underpass.

Read more with EL news: LDA creates bylaws that permit high rises in cities

Riaz Hussain, who is the Executive Director of Technical for the PCBDDA, said that the underpass project is moving along quickly. It was said that the government has finished more than 560 piles so far. The executive director said that the authority is committed to finishing the project to remodel the Kalma Chowk Underpass by a certain date. Also, the authority has sped up the work on the parking plaza and finished pouring concrete for the walls that will hold back water.

Also, the executive director asked commuters to make plans based on what the City Traffic Office (CTO) and PCBDDA said about traffic. A traffic officer for the city said that this project will solve a number of traffic problems.

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LDA creates bylaws that permit high rises in cities

LDA creates bylaws that permit high rises in cities

On December 5, news sources said that the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) changed the city’s building and construction laws to allow the construction of buildings with more than 7 floors.

Read more with EL news: Unoccupied property impedes real estate industry expansion

According to new rules, plots of land that are four kanals or bigger can now have buildings with up to seven stories. After a new law was passed, the following restrictions would go into effect:

Raiwind Road, Khyban-e-Jinnah and Shaukat Ali Road

On plots of land of 4 kanal or more, buildings with a ground floor plus 7 stories will be allowed. On plots of land of 2 to 4 kanal, buildings with a ground floor plus 6 stories will be allowed.
On plots of 10 marlas or more, people will be able to build buildings with a ground floor and up to four floors.

For the Johar Town bypass road, the LDA has given permission for buildings with 10 floors and a ground floor to be built on 4 kanal plots. The LDA has also banned the building of warehouses and wholesale markets on newly designated commercial roads in the city. This is done to control traffic flow.

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Unoccupied property impedes real estate industry expansion

Unoccupied property impedes real estate industry expansion

LAHORE: The “Hold on for Dear Life” (HODL) mentality in the real estate industry means that individual and institutional investors own more than one residential property that is not being used. They are waiting to sell the property on purpose so that they can get a higher price when they do sell it.

Read more with EL news: CM Elahi introduces Phase 2 journalist housing scheme

In Pakistan, there are laws that let the wealthy hoard different kinds of assets and finished goods to make their value go up as they age. We’ve seen this happen many times with different goods, even when land prices went up.

A real estate broker named Muhammad Ali Rehman said, “There have been problems on both the supply and demand sides of the housing finance market.”

“The biggest problems with the mortgage industry’s supply side are the lack of good foreclosure tools, the uncertainty of title deeds, the lack of new products, the risk of a maturity mismatch because there isn’t enough long-term funding, and the lack of skilled mortgage bankers. On the demand side, some of the biggest problems are rising property prices, a lack of financing options, the lack of formal financial services, and fluctuating interest rates,” he said.

The elite’s special interests are hurting the majority of people and making the climate disaster in Pakistan much worse than it should have been. Even now, Pakistan’s trade deficit has reached a record high of $48.66 billion because imports are going through the roof. This is up from $30.96 billion a year ago, which is a big jump of 57%.

At the same time, data from the central bank shows that there are about 10 million units of housing that are needed.

The elite and the richest 1% have done everything they can to stop laws that would prevent them from owning empty homes. They also continue to ignore the fact that the devastating floods in Sindh have left 12.5 million people without homes.

Census information from 2017 from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) shows that 25% of the houses in Pakistan have a weak structure. The data also shows that 26 million houses are owned, 4 million are rented, and 2 million are rent-free. Of these, 74% are made of stones, bricks, and baked bricks, 18% are made of mud or unbaked bricks, and 7% are made of wood or bamboo.

It is thought that about 700,000 new homes are needed each year, but only about half of this number is actually built. This is partly because people are holding on to land, which comes from the HODL mentality, so they can make more money when they sell the land in the future.

As a way to fix this, a double-digit non-usage fee (NUF) can be put on land. This would force people who own more than one plot of residential property to sell it or become partners in whatever project is built on the land.

Experts said that these stay orders should not apply to housing societies that are owned by the government.

Farhan Javed, Group Director at the online real estate market Graana, said, “Graana thinks this should be done.”

“In Pakistan, a lot of money is put into real estate, and it’s still the most popular asset class for people who want to invest. But what’s really going on in the sector is that people are trading files that show plots of land for housing societies that don’t even exist yet and won’t be built for 30 years. There are a lot of empty plots in places like DHA and Bahria that are well-known. “It will take between 20 and 30 years for these to be useful,” he said.

Javed emphasised that real estate should be useful by saying, “If someone buys a plot, they should have three to five years to build something on it to make it useful for the economy. The market will drop when a double-digit non-usage fee is put on residential land and a double-digit advance tax is put on the purchase and sale of vacant plots, but this is the only way for Pakistan to make money from investment in the real estate sector.

Recent price trends show that houses and other residential property continue to go up in value. This is because the NUF is low and the cost of HODLing is high. In the last six months, the index for residential property and houses has gone up by 7.2% to 7.5%, from 404 to 342.

“A NUF in the double digits will lower the value of the land itself, forcing the owners to sell or work with developers,” said Javed.

“Realistically, those who have extra plots will start showing that they are under construction with a small amount of money and try to buy time,” said Jawad Nayyar, Co-Founder of DAO PropTech, a FinTech that uses blockchain to make fractional real estate ownership more accessible to more people.

“It won’t be a huge help, but more work will be needed in the direct and indirect sectors because of it. Everyone who works in the real estate business will benefit. The empty plots are now being used as green pastures, which is bad for the environment,” he said.

Increasing non-usage fees will cause a construction boom, which will bring construction jobs to Pakistan, boost the local finished goods industries, and help increase the number of people who own their own homes. As a result, there will be more building, and once a double-digit NUF affects land value, the price of homes will go down because of unit economics. In four to five years, the perceived high value of land may go down, making housing more affordable for everyone.

The author is a senior research assistant at the Institute of Development and Economic Alternative (IDEAS)

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CM Elahi introduces Phase 2 journalist housing scheme

CM Elahi introduces Phase 2 journalist housing scheme

According to news from December, Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi announced that the second phase of the Lahore Press Club Housing Scheme would begin.

Read more with EL news: Mahmood evaluates the development of city revitalization projects

The 10th meeting of the Punjab Journalist Housing Foundation Board was held at the CM’s official residence. The CM was in charge of the meeting. The minister said that the land will be given out in the Tehsil Cantt, where 500 kanals will be set aside for 5-marla plots in the Ashiana Housing Scheme.

During the meeting, CM Elahi said that 15 plots in Block B that had been given out illegally had been taken back and would be given to the rightful owners of Block B. The minister told the police to get rid of the illegal people living in Block B of Press Club Housing Schemes, and the people who were wronged will get what is due to them. The minister also called a meeting to talk about the problems of the people in Block B.

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Mahmood evaluates the development of city revitalization projects

Mahmood evaluates the development of city revitalization projects

Mahmood Khan, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cities Improvement Project (KPCIP) is an important plan that, when finished, will change the whole look of the divisional headquarters.

He said that the provincial government believed in using public resources in a fair and efficient way, and that the KPCIP would be a big step toward giving people better public and recreational spaces.

Read more with EL news: WCLA will enhance Mall Road as part of the Dilkash Lahore project

This was said by the chief minister at a meeting in the provincial capital to talk about how the KPCIP was going.

An official statement released here on Sunday said that the Rs97 billion project was started to improve five divisional headquarters with things like drinking water, green spaces, and other amenities.

The participants were told that projects to build recreation parks and a sewage treatment plant in the districts of Kohat, Mardan, Mingora, and Peshawar, with a total cost of Rs9 billion, were ready to be put into action.

The statement said that agreements worth Rs7.5 billion had been signed for water supply systems in Kohat and Peshawar, a sewage treatment plant in Mardan worth Rs8.3 billion, and water supply network projects in Mingora worth Rs20 billion.

When he spoke at the meeting, the chief minister said that KPCIP was one of his government’s “mega projects,” and he stressed that all of the related projects had to be done by the deadline.

He told people to hurry up and buy construction equipment, and he said that the projects would get started as soon as the equipment was ready.

The chief minister said that development plans were made with the needs of different divisional headquarters in mind so that people could get basic services.

At the meeting were the chief secretary Shehzad Bangash, the additional chief secretary Shahab Ali Shah, the administrative secretaries of the departments involved, the KPCIP project director, and other important people.

Mahmood Khan also started a lot of different projects, like fixing the water supply system, building a new water treatment plant, and fixing up the old bazaar in the city of Abbottabad.

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WCLA will enhance Mall Road as part of the Dilkash Lahore project

WCLA will enhance Mall Road as part of the Dilkash Lahore project

News sources said on December 2 that the Walled City Lahore Authority (WCLA) has started to repair and improve the Mall Road as part of the Dilkash Lahore project.

The PKR 487.7 million project will fix up the road from Charring-Cross to Old Tollinton Market and make it look better. In the first phase of the project, public gathering spaces, public seating areas, and electric lighting will be built, along with traditional activities. Billboards, directional signs, and historical plaques will also be put up in different places.

Read more with EL news: The Chief Minister begins works on Abbottabad-Thandiani Road

Kamran Lashari, the director general of WCLA, told the media that the project will make Lahore a much better place to visit and will bring more tourists to the city. He said that Mall Road has always been the centre of Lahore, and he said that this cannot be said enough. WCLA has decided to spend a lot of money on the project because of this.

It is important to say that the WCLA is in charge of keeping the city’s historic and culturally important buildings and monuments in good shape. The WCLA and the French government just signed a deal to restore the historic Lahore Fort to its former glory and protect sensitive places.

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