LDA restructures its directorates

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LAHORE – The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has started the year 2011 with a rampant drive of restructuring its important directorates to bless the favourites, on the influence of DMG officers posted on deputation in the authority, Pakistan Today has learnt.
LDA Directorate of Land Development is the new victim in the row. Fresh orders, issued by the authority, have ended the 5-month merger of Directorate of Land Development II and Directorate of Land Development III in the name of restructuring for better functioning. Previously both directorates were merged and named ‘DLD II’ five months back, to improve its service delivery as well.
Directorate of Land Development is responsible to sign agreements for exemption of all types of plots, exchange deeds in respect of plots, grant extensions in building periods etc. Detail revealed that on August 24 2010, LDA DG Umer Rasool had ordered for the merger of directorates. The decision was taken after Land Development Director Ifran Ali Bhatti went abroad. Tariq Masood was made director of DLD II.
“Since Irfan Ali Bhatti is back, LDA DG Umer Rasool again has ended merger of both directorates and has separated them into two,” a senior official of LDA told Pakistan Today. Given the fresh orders, Irfan Ali Bhatti has been handed over the charge of Directorate of Land Development III and Tariq Masood took the helm of Directorate of Land Development II.
LDA official pinpointed another mismanagement aimed to oblige the favourites, saying that under the orders issued on August 24, LDA also merged Directorate of Land Development IV and V and named them DLD III. And Ahmed Mumtaz Ali Khan was made its director. However, he said that the fresh orders had yet to explain that after revival of Directorate of Land Development III headed by Irfan Ali Bhatti, ‘buddy’ of DG Umer Rasool, whether DLD III, that came into existence with merger of DLD IV and DLD V, stood defunct or not.
Orders were very confusing as it maintained that staff of DLD II and DLD III will continue to work in their separate directorates, he added. Sources in LDA headquarters said, “Second target is the Directorate of Enforcement,” which was formed by LDA on May 15, 2009 to take action against illegal properties built on government lands, construction of buildings in violation of laws and encroachment.
They disclosed that move was afoot to dissolve the important directorate, as DMG officers posted on deputation in LDA feared that its continuation would hamper their vested interests. Directorate of Enforcement made its impact when it launched operation against illegal construction with full throttle. Surprisingly a number of PML-N MPAs including Ajasam Sharif, Bilal Yaseen and Malik Muhammad Waris Kalu stopped the directorate officials to carry out demolition activities using their political influence, said sources.
These officials filed an application to LDA authorities seeking order to get FIR registered against the parliamentarians. Observing the severity of situation, LDA high-ups made the Directorate of Enforcement inactive for the time being to hush-up the cases against the PML-N MPAs. Since its establishment, Directorate of Enforcement witnessed change of command more than eight times. Further, LDA also transferred and posted a number of officers, who suggested legal action against the PML-N parliamentarians, on a plea that reshuffle was meant to improve the overall functioning of the LDA.
Now, on the wish of DMG officers who were ‘dear’ to LDA DG Umer Rasool, LDA is bracing to dump or change its structure to undermine its force, told an LDA official. According to LDA data, LDA has already merged its Directorates of Estate Management (I) and (II) in the name of cutting departmental expenditures and better working. Directorate of Estate Management was divided into two by the former LDA director Shahid Mehmood in January 2009.
Sources in LDA headquarters said that the Directorate of Estate Management was originally established to take action against land grabbers. It was mandated to demolish buildings, in LDA controlled areas, that violated building rules and zone regulations and to reclaim land from the possession of illegal occupants. Besides, it was also responsible for auctioning surplus materials, sign agreements for the sale of all types of plots, he added.