LAHORE – The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has issued another notice to the owners of Mubarak Centre, Ferozpur Road, giving them an option to either start construction at the earliest or to refill the deeply excavated site to avoid any mishap, sources informed TheNation.

The construction of Mubarak Centre, a proposed multi-storey plaza of a UAE-based group of companies, is pending for the last few years.

Earlier, the authorities served notices on owners and developers because the construction work was being stopped at the site, but the developers still failed to submit any reply in this regard. On this, the authorities continued issuing notices to them under the laws concerned, the sources added.

“In fact, LDA authorities have seemed reluctant to force plaza owners to either start construction work or to initiate any legal action against them because the owners have a vast business network in Pakistan and they are influential people; they belong to the royal family of the UAE and are family members of Sheikh Zayed Al Nehan,” the sources informed.

They said that though the construction work was being stopped by the local authorities on some technical ground whereas the matter of construction was still pending for ‘discussion’ between the developers and the provincial government since 2008, the sources added.

On the other hand, a survey of the site conducted by this scribe revealed that a number of buildings, adjacent to the proposed site of Mubarak Center, were on verge of collapse as cracks appeared in these structures because of digging work which posed a serious threat to the lives of neighbouring residents.

The construction of plaza was started in 2006 and the work was abruptly halted in 2008 perhaps due to some technical reasons and cancellation of contract with the construction company, said an employee of the company. Now the site presented a deserted look, he added. He, on the condition of anonymity, told this scribe that work on the project had been postponed for indefinite period perhaps due to the death of the plaza owner, Sheikh Mubarik.

“Now Sheikh Al Nehan, son of Sheikh Mubarik, is looking after the entire business of the company in Pakistan but he is also not showing any interest in the construction of the plaza due to uncertain reasons,” he added.

However, he tried to satisfy this scribe saying that all the surrounding buildings were safe except the office building of a company, which inclined as a result of digging work and the owners purchased such building from its owner Saleem and paid him sufficient amount as compensation.

 Telling reason of work stoppage, the employee said, the construction company had refused to continue the work and the owners were going to assign the contract to other companies and the process was still underway.

When this scribe tried to contact people working with one of the company office, situated at Main Boulevard Gulberg, they were reluctant to give any detail about the project.

Among the affectees, a private company manager Ghulam Nabi told this scribe that cracks in the lawn surface, walls and floors of the building are appearing rapidly and causing severe damage to the entire building.

In fact, the owners of the plaza wanted to buy their buildings at any cost and for that purpose they used all unfair means for getting possession of neighbouring buildings, he alleged.