Sunday, February 27, 2011

Striving for better fire safety and protection:Tips for better fire protection

Many markets , bazaars, multistory public and private buildings are built without any fire protection and safety mechanics. The incidents of fire in the country are on the rise and there is need to introduce new fire safety laws and devise fire escape plans to ensure construction of buildings with emergency fire exits.
A recent incident was the electrical short circuit that occurred in a warehouse that stored fireworks in Shah Alam Market in Lahore in early February this year. The resulting fire engulfed 11 buildings, and the fire fighters faced severe difficulty in putting it out as the fire engines were unable to reach the site due to congested streets. How can such incidents be prevented?
Here are some precautions landlords and tenants should take:
1) Ensure that the electrical wiring can bear the required electricity load,. Have the wiring checked by a qualified electrician at least every six months to make sure that it is functioning properly.
2) Take necessary precautionary measures when it comes to storing flammable material such as firecrackers and cigarette lighter fluid. Use fire-resistant cabinets and bins and ensure adequate ventilation.
3) Never leave a smoldering cigarette, as electrical appliance or a lit stove unattended.
4) Make sure that all electrical equipment is maintained properly and checked frequently.
5) Fire exits should be marked clearly so people can evacuate the building in an organized manner; fire extinguishers should be placed in prominent places.

6) Have a fire alarm system, or several smoke detectors installed for early detection.

Unfortunately, there is no mechanism in Pakistan that ensures regular inspection of all buildings for fire preventive purposes. A possible solution to this would be if the urban development. police and fir service departments worked together to ensure that construction bylaws are not violated by builders and developers. The government should also enforce and introduce modern construction rules for the safety of buildings from fire, so that commercial buildings and warehouses meet the required international standards.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buying Fertile Land In Pakistan

In Pakistan, currently over 6 million families work on 50 million acres of land; 94% of the farmers are considered "Survival Formers"  and occupy less then an average of 12. acres. These farmers work on large private holdings or government land and have been farming for generations. Recently the Government of Pakistan has put fertile land on sale to encourage foreign investment.
The United Arab Emirates(UAE) has purchased 324,000 hectares (800,000 acres) in Punjab while Saudia Arab and China have also expressed their interest to buy fertile land. Foreign firms investing in Pakistan fertile land have been offered 50 year leases, renewable for another 40 years; investors will retain 100% proprietary rights, while enjoying a tax holiday for 10 years.
To safe guard the interests of small farmers, here are some suggestions which the Government should consider:
1) No land should be sold to foreign buyers which may have oil or other mineral reserves.
2) Barren land only should offered for foreign investments, in which the equity of the Government should be 51%; foreign buyer(s) should be asked to raise 49% of the value of land according to open market rates for development purposes.
3) Local farmers should be trained modern technology methods aimed at making barren land fertile thus giving them the means to continue to earn a livelihood.
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Beaware Of Bogus Housing Schemes, Housing Development, Housing Projects, Housing Benefits & Housing Associations

The last decades has seen countless housing schemes surface promising luxuries living to unsuspecting investors only to be declared bogus after millions of rupees have been collected from them. The modus-operandi of bogus housing societies is to publish attractive advertisements in the print and electronic media in order to lure people into buying, and after collecting the money they disappear.
Over the years the Awareness and Prevention Division (A&P) of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has advised investors to check all details prior to investing in any housing scheme.
Unfortunately, beyond warnings no legislation to protect investors from bogus housing schemes Housing Development, Housing Projects, Housing Benefits & Housing Associations has been forthcoming from the federal or provincial Governments. In such a scenario, it is imperative that investors not risk their hard earned money without conducting their own investigation into the legitimacy of any new housing scheme.
Here are few points to keep in mind before investing in any housing scheme:

1) Obtain a copy of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the management of the Housing Scheme and confirm its authenticity with the competent authority, i.e KDA, CDA, LDA.
2) Find out from the concerned office of the City Government who is the owner of the land on which the project is to be built, and whether proper lease documents exist with the area registrar.
3) Inquire from utility companies if they have agreed to provide utilities to the scheme.
4) Find out if there is any ongoing litigation involving the land where the scheme is being built.
5) Examine the details of the plot you are interested in. Make sure the exit plot number, street number, sector phase number as well as the development charges and payment schedule are clearly highlighted prior to signing the purchase agreement.
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