close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
February 3, 2014

Rs100 bn Karachi housing project hoodwinks law

Sports

AFP
&
A
APP
February 3, 2014

KARACHI: The developers of Naya Nazimabad have illegally converted mining land into a residential scheme and usurped millions of rupees from the public, The News has learnt.
The mines and minerals department of Sindh had issued two show-cause notices and three reminders to the Javedan Cement Company, the builders of the Naya Nazimabad project, but they had ignored all of them.
The department had issued a show cause notice on the report of a departmental inquiry committee. The move was initiated when the Prime Minister’s Secretariat on various complaints and media reports regarding the disputed and illegal residential scheme Naya Nazimabad took notice and directed the chief secretary Sindh to probe the matter.
A letter from deputy secretary Kamran Farooq Ansari of the PM’s Secretariat dated October 23, 2013, directed the chief secretary Sindh for a complete inquiry into the alleged misuse and illegal conversion of mining land for the Naya Nazimabad project.
Pursuing the orders, chief secretary Sindh wrote to the secretary mines and minerals for an inquiry and sought a report within two days. The secretary then ordered the director general mining and minerals Sindh for an inquiry and a four-member inquiry committee was constituted headed by director Muhammad Rafiq Solangi and comprising deputy director Ghulam Rasool Ghanghro and two senior surveyors Riaz Soomro and Maqsood Khan. The committee visited the area and submitted a report to the department.
The inquiry committee found the owners of JCL and developers of Naya Nazimabad responsible for misusing the mining land and illegal conversion of land status. The committee in its report mentioned that the housing scheme of Naya Nazimabad is being developed in a grand area of mining land reserved for “only mining purposes.” According to the report a chemical factory and a steel mills were also illegally established in that area.
After the report the mines and minerals department issued a

show-cause notice on October 30, 2013 to the owners of Naya Nazimabad and directed them to reply within 30 days. Later, two letters were sent to the deputy commissioner West and secretary industries about the status of Naya Nazimabad and issuing of licences to the factories.
But despite the passage of three months no one has replied. The owners of Naya Nazimabad include Arif and Dhedhi who is embroiled in NAB investigations for being part of the Rs82 billion Ogra scam and is accused of illegally occupying amenity land in DHA for his Arkadians project.
Other shareholders include Shunaid Qureshi, currently out on bail after his alleged involvement in illegal activities, and Haji Ghani against whose brokerage firm the SECP issued a closing order due to irregularities with investors’ money. However the matter is now sub judice.
According to the official record of the Sindh Board of Revenue and Mining and Minerals Department, two leases were issued measuring 3188.88 acres for a period of 45 years to M/s Javedan Cement Company Limited in 1979 for the mining of lime stone and shale clay. Both these leases will expire in 2024.
The Javedan Cement factory was privatised in 2006 and the new owners immediately stopped the production of a cement factory and illegally converted the JCL land into a posh housing society worth over Rs100 billion.
On November 3, 2011 after receiving complaints, director general mines and minerals had issued show-cause notice to the owners of JCL and warned them to close the cement plant and stop the misuse of mining land as these activities violated the lease grant.
On December 26, 2011, Abdul Aziz, general manager administration of JCL submitted a reply and explained that the leased area is not being used for any other purpose and narrated that due to the old technology of JCL the production of cement was discontinued in 2010 and required information could not be sent to the department.
The general manager added that the management is in the process of planning to put a new cement plant in this area with new technology for which the above lease will be retained for the manufacturing of cement.
According to sources in the Sindh Board of Revenue, the owners of Naya Nazimabad on the one hand are paying the lease money to the mines and minerals department and, on the other, fraudulently and illegally allotted the same mining land for housing project with the collaboration of officers of the Land Utilization division of the Board of Revenue and Deputy Commissioner West. Later, the Sindh Building Control Authority also approved the site plan illegally and without verifying the record. It is worth noting that the developers of Naya Nazimabad did not obtain necessary permissions from the civic agencies like Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), Water and Sewerage Board, etc. and given other investigations against the main shareholders it is not surprising to see such behaviour.
According to the Sindh Revenue Act 1967 status of land cannot be changed and if the owners of land want to change the status first they have to surrender the land to the Board of Revenue and then apply for the said land and after paying the due tax and fees they can acquire the fresh lease for a prescribed purpose. In the case of Naya Nazimabad this rule was violated and a housing scheme was illegally initiated.
Despite repeated calls and text messages Saqib Soomro member land utilization, Board of Revenue, did not respond. A letter sent to him through courier and a letter submitted in his office for his version received no reply for two weeks.
A major shareholder of Naya Nazimabad project, Haji Ghani Usman, after listening to the question refused to comment and instead told this correspondent to contact Dhedhi. When The News contacted Dhedhi he said he is unable to comment on the matter as according to him he is only a minor shareholder. He suggested that Arif, chairman of the project, should be contacted.
Arif told The News there is no construction on the mining land and as they purchased the Javedan Cement Factory through the Privatisation Commission there were three types of land including mining land. He further said the construction activity tool place on the other land which is the property of JCL. When asked about the show-cause notice of the mining and minerals department, government of Sindh, he said he is unaware of the notice. He said the story is being filed due to some mala fide intentions but when he was informed about all the relevant documentary evidence, including an official map of the encroached land, he asked this reporter to visit the site and meet him in person for a detailed discussion on the issue.