The Punjab government has decided to intensify the crackdown against illegal housing societies depriving citizens of their hard-earned money.
Speaking in this regard, Mian Aslam Iqbal, senior provincial Minister, said that law enforcement authorities have been ordered to spare no one involved in the scam of illegal housing schemes.
The Minister lamented that successive previous governments did nothing to rein in the illegal housing societies, allowing the land mafia to become such a strong force that authorities appear to be helpless in front of them.
Thousands of citizens have spent their life savings to buy plots to build new houses only to find out that they had invested in illegal housing schemes, the Minister added.
Referring to one such incident, the Minister recalled that an illegal housing society in Lahore had submitted an application for expansion in 2012. The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) and Secretary Housing rejected the application as the land identified for expansion was agricultural land upon which no housing scheme can be constructed.
However, the owner of the society went to Lahore High Court (LHC) and got a stay order against the move by LDA and Secretary Housing, allowing it to continue expansion work. So far, the LDA has sent them 17 notices to halt expansion but to no avail.
The Minister said that the housing society has committed a fraud of Rs. 50 billion with the citizens and five cases have been lodged against it. Each time authorities decided to take action against it, the housing scheme threatened them with severe consequences.
Recently, the guards of the housing scheme tortured the officials who retrieved 55 kanals of land from it. Nearly 100 people have been booked under various charges for interfering with the anti-encroachment drive of the district administration.