LAHORE: The Metropolitan Planning Wing of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has temporarily suspended the issuance of No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) to new housing societies within its jurisdiction.
This decision comes in response to concerns raised by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) regarding extensive land use in various districts of Punjab.
Nadeem Akhtar Zaidi, Chief Metropolitan Planner (CMP), confirmed that the Metropolitan Planning Wing is currently refraining from granting new NOCs.
According to sources, this action is being taken based on instructions from the Housing Department, which received a letter from the ECP.
The ECP issued its letter in mid-August 2023, imposing a ban on the issuance of NOCs for new housing societies and making ECP approval mandatory in cases of urgency.
The ECP’s letter emphasized that the caretaker government’s role is to manage routine operational emergencies and should avoid making significant policy decisions.
Moreover, it also pointed out that changes in land usage initiated by the provincial government across various districts, coupled with the issuance of NOCs by deputy commissioners to multiple housing societies, have raised concerns about the potential compromise of essential green spaces and productive agricultural land.
This trend could lead to disorganized and unplanned residential expansion, potentially accompanied by corruption concerns in specific areas, the ECP’s letter stated.
Similarly, it emphasized that the responsibility of devising an appropriate policy to address this challenge lies with the elected government.
Besides, the letter called for an immediate halt to the issuance of new NOCs and directed authorities to communicate this decision to all deputy commissioners.
Furthermore, the letter maintained that in cases where the caretaker government identifies urgent matters in this context or others, they should present a well-justified case for review and approval by the commission before taking any action.
The letter concluded by stressing the importance of the caretaker government upholding the commission’s legal mandate and guidelines as they fulfill their duties.
Source: The News