Vice-Chairman Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Sheikh Muhammad Imran has said that general permission to build high-rise buildings will bring technical and economic advantages to the provincial metropolis. In an interview on Sunday, he said high-rise buildings were a taboo in the LDA till 2018, as only the powerful could undertake selective projects, adding that only one high-rise building was under construction in the LDA jurisdiction due to small plot size, height and other conditions. The LDA vice chairman said the high-rise buildings accommodate more inhabitants per unit of area of land and decrease the cost of municipal infrastructure, adding that the LDA needed to take futuristic decisions to cut down land use due to burgeoning population. “As many as 150 high-rise buildings are under-construction under the revamped LDA policy today, while 200 have been sanctioned,” he responded, adding that mere 2.3 million square foot construction was allowed in 2018, while 230 million square foot construction has been allowed in 2020-21 under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of Sardar Usman Buzdar. To a question, he said the LDA must serve the public, but it had been turned into a public nuisance body over several decades due to mismanagement and anti-public legislation. He said that LDA had been transformed into a public-friendly institution through multiple initiatives like high-rise buildings, speedy approval of building plans, expansive commercialisation policy and action against land mafia during the past three years. Legal heirship process has been made easy for the public, adding that a family will have a certificate, instead of undergoing a cumbersome process of court decree which used to be awarded to families in months and years in the past. Elaborating on the process, the LDA vice chairman said a family would be required to submit a Family Registration Certificate (FRC) by NADRA for the change of heirship after demise of a family head, adding that the LDA would place an advertisement in the newspapers seeking objections in two-week time, after which the heirship would be changed. “Commercialisation fee waiver of millions of rupees has been granted to the charitable schools and hospitals, which will be ultimately spent on the needy students and patients,” S M Imran responded, adding that the education and health facilities were basic rights of people. He said 30-day timeline had been fixed for approval of building plan by the LDA, while an applicant had to move from pillar to post in the past, adding that the applicant, under the new law, may start construction if the building plan is not approved by the LDA within 30 days. He said after reforms, the rate of on-time disposal of applications at One Window Operation (OWO) of the LDA has been raised to 78 per cent from mere 20 per cent three years ago. On annual commercialisation and frozen roads, the vice chairman said the frozen roads are being reviewed and a decision will be taken soon regarding their status. He said that annual/temporary commercialisation policy in the residential areas was a wrong policy, adding that the current management has done away with it and it will not be renewed after 2024. He said operations against the land mafia had brought great relief to the aggrieved public besides adding billions of rupees to the government kitty, saying that successful operations were conducted against the land-grabbers whose name was a scourge for the LDA staffers in the past.