Stay order against hospital building extended

Stay order against  hospital building extended

LAHORE: Justice Abdus Sattar Asghar of the Lahore High Court (LHC) extended a stay order until February 17 against demolishment of the historical building of the Lady Willingdon Hospital, Lahore to construct a flyover at Azadi Chowk.
The judge also directed the petitioner’s counsel to file until next date of hearing a rejoinder to the reply submitted by LDA.
On behalf of LDA, it was stated that hospital’s land belongs to the Punjab government. 
The total land is about 120 kanals and only two kanals and 11 marlas would be acquired for the project, LDA said.
It stated that only a kitchen and washroom facility of the hospital would be affected which would be constructed on another location inside hospital.
The LDA’s counsel also presented a drawing plan of the project. It was stated that the plan has been finalised and funds have been released for the project. The court was also told that entire building of the hospital would not be demolished.
It was stated that the petitions against demolition of the hospital were filed on the basis of speculation that the hospital was being demolished. 
The court was told that the petitions were not maintainable and they should be dismissed.
The petitioner’s counsel placed on record newspaper reports about demolition of hospital. He said that the government wanted to construct a park on land of the hospital and it was a false claim that whole of the hospital building would not be demolished.
The judge had issued the directions on a petition moved on behalf of the Young Doctors Association.
The petitioner’s counsel, Muhammad Azhar Siddique, had submitted that the government was wasting a huge amount of money from the public exchequer to build a flyover to strengthen Matro Bus project. He said that to complete this project, the government has planned to demolish a huge portion of this historical hospital building.
He submitted that the hospital was constructed on an area of 120 kanals 83 years ago and a USAID team has also showed interest to upgrade the hospital but the Punjab government showed no concern in this regard.
He said this hospital has a facility of 300 beds and people get treatment free of cost. He submitted that in the hospital, annually 14,000 births take place and about 500 patients get treatment daily. He said that due to increase in population, health facilities are not up to the mark and the government was “curtailing existing health facilities”.
Azhar submitted that the petitioner had already given a notice to the authorities concerned which they did not ignore and are preparing to demolish the hospital. He said that demolishing of the hospital was violation of articles 14, 10-A, 9, 24, 23, 19-A, 16, 15 and 25-A of the constitution.
He said that due to construction work at Azadi Chowk, all paths to hospital are closed and patients have to enter there after walking for several hundreds of yards. He said that no NOC had been taken from the Environment Department for the construction of flyover.
He said that demolishment of the building of hospital was against provision of the Walled City Act 2012, Antiquities Act 1975, and Punjab Special Premises Preservations 1985.
He requested the court to declare the government’s decision of demolishing the hospital building illegal.

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