LAHORE: The civil society has strongly protested against the government for using police force and state machinery to drive residents of Parachute Colony out of their houses within the next couple of days for Orange Line train despite a stay order issued by the Lahore High Court against the project.

On the other hand, residents of the Parachute Colony protested against the Shahbaz government for flouting the stay.

“On Tuesday, Misri Shah Station House Officer Shabbir Awan visited our locality, ordering us to receive compensation of Rs1 million (for each house) and vacate the houses (18 in number) within two or three days,” Shakeel, a resident, complained while talking to Dawn.

“If you (residents) will not receive compensation and vacate the houses within a couple of days, you will be evicted forcibly. And then you will not be given even compensation,” he quoted the SHO as warning the residents.

Shakeel said the Parachute Colony was established near divisional superintendent’s office of Pakistan Railways (near Bohrwala Chowk) and immigrants had started living there after migrating from India in 1947.

“The Parachute Colony is an approved katchi abadi of the LDA and the residents have ownership documents, such as registry, allotment letters, utility bills, etc.” he said, adding that since the government wanted to get colony’s land for Orange Line forcibly, the residents had challenged the action in the LHC which issued a stay order against land acquisition. If the government got our houses vacated forcibly, it would be not only violation of court orders but also trigger mass protests, he warned.

The SHO has rejected the residents’ stance, terming it baseless.

“The police are supposed to accompany the government officials visiting the Parachute Colony for resolving issues. The purpose to go with the government officials is to protect them since the residents used to abuse or quarrel with them over land acquisition. I just remained silent there,” he explained, adding that he went to the colony with the LDA team, headed by a director.

The LDA officials told the residents to receive the compensation and if there was any stay, they should provide it to the government, the SHO said.

Talking to Dawn, civil society activist Rahimul Haque criticised the government for violating the court stay.

“The attitude of the state towards its citizens is so arrogant. This government wants everything dismantled by hook or by crook for the Orange Line,” he deplored, adding if the government didn’t honour the court orders, the civil society and the residents would stage more protest demonstrations.

On the other hand, the compensation process at all designated one-window camps is under way for the last five days. The people whose land/property is being acquired for the project partially or completely reportedly continue to visit these centres for receiving compensation, subject to production of documents.

According to a document, the district price assessment committee (DPAC) is assessing the per marla cost of the residential and commercial property, situated in various parts of the city along the Orange train route.

The property rates assessed near the stations or locality of Dera Gujran and Islam Park, Salamatpura, Mahmood Booti, Shalamar Gardens, Baghbanpura, UET, Sultanpura, railway station, Lahore Hotel, Lakshmi, Hall Road and Anarkali are from Rs1.05m to 3m per marla.

The cost of property being acquired in the areas from Chauburji till Thokar Niaz Beg has been assessed from Rs1.5m to Rs2.2m.

As per formula devised by the government, the total compensation calculated for each property includes total assessed cost of the land, land acquisition charges, structure cost and disturbance and shifting allowance and business loss cost.

“If the land cost is Rs2m, this amount’s 15pc will be added into the cost of land and an affectee would get Rs2.3 million. The other costs/charges are being paid separately to each property owner,” an LDA’s land acquisition collector told Dawn at Thokar Niaz Beg’s one window/camp office.

According to a Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (Tepa) official, the structure assessment cost is being paid under the building rules and regulations and a notification has been issued by the assessment committee in this regard.

“So, we are paying Rs1,200 per sqft if the building’s age is not more than 10 years and Rs950 per sqft for the structure attaining an age below 20 but over 10 years,” he added.

He said such cost is evaluated on the basis and kind/make of structure such as RCC, frame, bricks/T-iron girder. He said if the cost appears to be Rs0.5m against the demolition of 50pc of the covered area, 50pc (Rs250,000) of the structure cost (Rs0.5m) will be added to the compensation. And the same amount would more be included in the total compensation as business loss charges, the official maintained.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2016