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November 6, 2018

Crackdown on illegal occupants


November 6, 2018

Rawalpindi: The illegal occupants have occupied government land of over Rs5 billions in Rawalpindi city/cantonment board and Potohar Town localities. Majority of offices of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) and all public dispensaries in city owned by Municipal Corporation Rawalpindi (MCR) were occupied by government departments for years in this regard.

MCR has issued notices to all occupants to bring original papers of land otherwise it will be considered state land. The civic bodies of district administration launched a grand operation to retrieve state land from illegal occupants but its pace has become ‘slow’ due to interference of powerful people. The civic bodies have retrieve state land worth of Rs1 billion during crackdown.

Operation against illegal occupants of the land of Damdama Temple was yet stopped. MCR Town Officer (Regulation) Pir Shahzad Gohar told ‘The News’ that all WAPDA offices were illegally established on state land. We are trying to retrieve all offices but some of them went to court for stay orders. All dispensaries are also owned by MCR, he claimed. He also said that illegal occupants have occupied state land over of Rs5 billion in Rawalpindi.

He said that we are trying to retrieve 167-kanal state owned land from illegal occupants in different areas of Soan, Fazalabad, Jhang Syedan and Ram Bagh near Asghar Mall. The district administration and the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) led by Assistant Commissioner City Naeem Afzal some days back reached Hamilton Road commonly called Dingi Kohi to raze the 43 illegal shops on the temple land. The local management has sealed all shops but stopped operation.

The MCR had also started crackdown in Namakmandi, Bohar Bazaar, Ganjmandi and Dalgaran Bazaar but stopped for some days. The MCR is also not doing crackdown against encroachment mafia in Raja Bazaar, Sadiqabad, Commercial Market and several other areas.

MCR Chief Officer Syed Shafqat Raza said that I wanted to retrieve all kind of state land from Rawalpindi. We are trying to do so, he said. He said that I have issued notices to produce original ownership papers of land otherwise it will consider the state land.

Bara Market is the best example of encroachment. Despite all claims, the administration failed to vacate the area from stallholders and permanent encroachments as the staff of the MCR is getting bribe from them.

The Chief Officer (CO) Potohar Town Kamran Khan said that we have retrieved state land of 1-kanal and 19-marla in different areas in the jurisdiction of District Council. We are continuously doing operation in Adiala Road, Defence Road, Tulsa Road, Gulraiz, High Court Road, Morgha Road, Chakri Road and Kurri Road, he said.

He said that it was difficult to tell exact value of the land but we have retrieved state land worth Rs1 billion. A senior official of ETPB on anonymity said different groups of traders as well as politicians had joined hands against the anti-encroachment drive. He said the operation had been ended and there was no plan to vacate the land from illegal occupants.

He said a list of properties of the board in illegal occupation had been provided to the district administration but the latter stopped the operation. The ETPB cannot retrieve its land without the help of the administration and the police, he added.

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