LDA City is widely recognised as the largest housing project in the country. The project is located on Ferozepur Road and spans more than 60,000 kanals. But, quite honestly, the size of a project doesn’t really matter to investors and genuine buyers (prospective homeowners) if their expectations are not taken care of.
LDA City has faced various controversies since its launch last year. Although there are some people who sing praises of the project, the ground realities paint a different picture. Because of this, stakeholders grew wary of the discrepancies associated with the scheme and solicited the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to help figure out, once and for all, if the project is a real estate scam.
Reportedly, the bureau has paid heed to the applications and has jumped into the game. It has asked the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), the face behind LDA City, for complete records of the project so that its inquiry can begin.
According to a NAB spokesperson, LDA and its development partners stand accused of overselling in LDA City, which means that more land has allegedly been sold than acquired. NAB will decide what action to take only once it is done scrutinising the records.
So for all those hoping to make a snap judgement, please hold your horses. Remember, this is just an accusation right now as NAB hasn’t come out with its findings just yet. It would be unethical to make definitive claims right now.
Opposition raises hue and cry
The controversies plaguing the project have even been acknowledged on a state level. Per a news report, Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Mahmood ur Rasheed stated that four private companies (possibly LDA City’s development partners) have collected PKR 16 billion from people under the banner a state entity. He claimed further that arm-twisting tactics are being used to force landowners sell their land.
In this vein, the opposition has raised the issues directly in the Punjab Assembly and has requested the chief minister to take notice.
Land acquisition continues
The project has planned to acquire seven mauzas – Kacha, Kahna, Sidhar, Thay Panju, Rakh Jhedu, Toor Warraich and Halloki – and acquisition has reportedly been in progress for the last few months.
It’s worth noting here that LDA is not shouldering the weight (financially and otherwise) of acquiring land from landowners directly. Instead, it has hired the services of development firms. These firms will get one-third of the developed plots in the society as a reward for the land they provide. Furthermore, they will also earn a commission of 1% of the total cost of the land.
Now that NAB has intervened to address the complaints, the outcomes of the investigation will clarify the matter. Investors need not panic at NAB’s interference. Instead, this should be taken positively because if the bureau finds any irregularities, steps will be taken to rectify them at the initial stages of the project.
If you’re a stakeholder, or an LDA City investor, do share your sentiments about the project and NAB’s intervention in the comments section below. I wish you the very best of luck!