Encroached land: campaign reaches dead end

ISLAMABAD, March 24: A campaign launched by the capital city’s civic agency to retrieve its encroached land seems to reach a dead end, as it has again lost thousands of kanals in different parts of the city.

In January 2011, while taking up the adverse possession of land case the Supreme Court had directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to retrieve the around 20,000 acres from encroachers. Later, in June 2011, the city managers launched the drive and got the land vacated.

The Centaurus(Under Construction)

The Centaurus(Under Construction) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, a visit to various areas in the city by Dawn showed that farmers had grown crops on the CDA land, especially in Bhara Khahu.

The adverse possession of land in Lakhwal village in Banni Gala also belied CDA’s claim of possession since the land vacated last year from adverse possession is currently being used for agricultural purpose by the local farmers.

“We have sown wheat in the vacant land and it’s our property and CDA has never stopped us from growing anything here,” claimed Raja Afrsayab.

All security posts set up by the enforcement directorate of the civic agency in different localities are now non-existent and its staff missing.

Besides the wheat sown by farmers, new housing structures can also be seen at Lakhwal village where new painted houses have been constructed.

However, sharing details with Dawn, a civic agency official said they have lost the possession of land in the villages of Lakhwal, Malpur, Chak Beera Singh, Bokra and Surain.

In a breakdown of figures he shared with this reporter, it emerged that around 1,000 kanals were lost to encroachers in Lakhwal, 6,000 kanals in Malpur with wheat grown by encroachers on the diplomatic extension land area, 1,200 kanals in Chak Beera Singh, 5,000 kanal in Bokra and around 1,600 kanals in Surain (Sector I-11).

“According to the record, land encroached alongside I.J. Principal and G.T. roads is also in thousands of kanals since the CDA has around 600 kanals acquired land on both sides of I.J. Principal Road,” said the official.

A visit to the area showed that the land close to Faizabad flyover has completely been taken over by hundreds of cart pushers and inter-city bus terminals.

“At a few places, illegal bus terminals were also allowed by CDA officials having no legal validity,” asserted the official.

The official maintained that CDA had also lost land in several pockets in different parts of the city to land encroachers who have built illegal structures there.

“We have also lost Park Enclave’s vacant land mainly because encroachers have blocked all the construction work at the site,” said the official.

The Park Enclave spreads over 200 acres. Recently, tents installed by the CDA to hold a ceremony to inaugurate the project were uprooted by angry people from the nearby village, demanding compensation for their land acquired for the housing scheme.

However, when Dawn approached the chairman of the CDA, Farkhand Iqbal, he asserted: “All the land is in the possession of CDA and I reject if someone says that we have lost any land.”

However, he also admitted: “We did lose some, not all the land, because our enforcement is weak and we are working into it.”

When asked to comment on the Park Enclave land, the CDA chief said it was under the possession of CDA. He said the protesting villagers who disrupted the inaugural ceremony were from Kurri area.

He said the issue regarding Kurri land was still with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) but “once the issue is resolved work on the Park Enclave project would resume, because the Kurri area is located close to Park Enclave. He said they were sending fortnightly reports to the Supreme Court on the issue. “We will be following the issue with devotion and remove all the encroachments within the city,” said the official.

Source: http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/25/encroached-land-campaign-reaches-dead-end-2.html