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April 10, 2017

KMC had leased out 15,000 acres instead of the approved 5,000


April 10, 2017

Residents have built houses by cutting hill similar

to the case of Katti Pahari in Orangi Town

A probe into the death of five people Thursday in the Ittehad Town landslide has revealed that the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation had illegally leased out 15,000 acres in the area against the approved 5,000 acres.

As per land records, the Sindh Board of Revenue has approved a lease plan of 5,000 acres in Gulshan-e-Ghazi, Block-A of Ittehad Town, but the KMC had leased out 15,000 acres.

After receiving the lease documents, people had encroached upon the hill there and constructed houses after massive cutting. The KMC was written letters for leasing out additional land against the approved plan, but its land department had not bothered to respond.

The situation of Gulshan-e-Ghazi, Ittehad Town is no different than that in Katti Pahari, Orangi Town.

People have built houses by cutting hills. The residents of encroached structures in both areas were granted lease by the KMC and they there are enjoying all basic facilities.

A similar incident had occurred in Gulshan-e-Ghazi last year when a boulder had fallen during mining but no loss of life or property was reported.

When the reason behind the inaction of the anti-encroachment cell there was explored, it was found that the area was previously known as a “grey part” of the city where law enforcement agencies killed many outlaws in encounters. Out of fear, the AEC appears to reluctant to send its staff there.

Talking to The News, Deputy Commissioner (West) Muhammad Asif Jameel confirmed that the KMC had given 15,000 acres in Gulshan-e-Ghazi Block-A against the approved plan of 5,000 acres.

When he was asked about the lack of action there to stop encroachment, the commissioner said the occupants were warned of action but they had justified their occupation by saying that the KMC had leased out the land.

 “The record available with the DC West office shows that the KMC was written letters even before my appointment over the illegal allocation, but its officials didn’t respond,” he added.

 “The AEC was also written letters to take action against the illegal constructions, but the department didn’t bother to take action.”

On the law and order situation and the fear factor, the commissioner said the place where the landslide occurred was among the troubled areas of the district during the polio vaccination drive.

“The residents don’t even open the doors to have their children vaccinated.”

AEC SSP Dr Farooq when approached for comments said he was unaware of the illegal occupation in Gulshan-e-Ghazi. “I have taken charge of the office six months ago and haven’t received any request from deputy commissioner (West) to take action against the illegal constructions,” he added.

Arif Aziz, the SP Keamari who had served as the AEC SSP for two-and-half years before the appointment of Dr Farooq, maintained that he had not received any directives to start a drive against illegal constructions in Gulshan-e-Ghazi.