Authorities are least concerned about revamping the dilapidated building in Walled City area of Lahore and it may lead to an untoward incident during the monsoon season, Pakistan Today has learnt.
In 2012, Punjab government established Walled City Lahore Authority (WCLA) which aimed to beautify the area in order to promote the tourism in the city.
WCLA was also assigned to revamp and repair all the dilapidated buildings present in the area to avoid any mishaps. Since its establishment, WCLA had hardly been able to revamp a dozen of buildings which have been declared dangerous for many last years.
Most buildings in the Walled City have been in place for more than 200 years, among them most have lost their original shapes due to construction work by the dwellers. An official in Building Control Department told Pakistan Today that these out of the way constructions not just make these buildings week but it also changed their shapes. He said that department has been highlighting the issue but authorities remained reluctant to put any efforts to preserve them.
A few days ago this was observed in a high officials meeting of City District Government Lahore and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) that scores of buildings in WCLA were identified as dilapidated. During meeting this was noticed that these building were in a poor condition and are n danger of collapsing during the monsoon season.
According to a PDMA report, there were more than 700 building which were declared dangerous in the city and among them as many as 260 buildings were present in WCLA.
An official in CDGL told Pakistan Today that in the past when walled city was under CDGL jurisdiction, government remained reluctant to release funds to revamp the dilapidated buildings. However, he claimed that CDGL had conducted surveys of the area and had been highlighting the issue.
An official in WCLA seeking anonymity told Pakistan Today that this was prime responsibility of CDGL before the area was handed over to WCLA. We have found more than 100 buildings which were dilapidated and allocation of funds was demanded, he said. When asked why WCLA could not pay attention during the first two years, he said that the department conducted surveys of the area in first two years and then it demanded funds”
During the last fiscal year, provincial government released funds of 20 million to repair most dangerous building which were enough to repair 16 buildings, he added.
While talking to Pakistan Today, WCLA Director Conservative Najam-us-Saqib told that they had identified 87 building as dangerous in the area. He said that WCLA had been serving notices to owners of dangerous buildings time and again but they were not ready to leave their homes. Most of the people are living below the poverty line even they were unable to meet their daily livelihood. “I have suggested in a meeting called to overview the situation of dangerous buildings, that government must put some efforts to financially help out these people” he said.
On a question, he said the news regarding cracks in the buildings were caused by ongoing construction work of WASA in the area which were later repaired by WCLA. He admitted that the Rs 20 million were not sufficient to repair all the dilapidated buildings but he was hopeful to receive sufficient funds from government.
WCLA had no idea before starting repairing work, but when it started work to repair, this was came into knowledge that such buildings needed more funds, he said, adding that an awareness campaign has been launched in the area that how people can save themselves during rainy season.
DG WCLA Kamran Lashari told Pakistan Today that WCLA is aware of such buildings and putting efforts to repair them in their original conditions while it is also repairing dangerous buildings. He said that they have requested other departments for their cooperation to revamp such buildings.