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Lahore admin claws back 673 kanals after resuming cleanup operation

Updated October 18, 2018

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Lahore administration resume anti-encroachment operation to locals' chagrin. — Photo/File
Lahore administration resume anti-encroachment operation to locals' chagrin. — Photo/File

LAHORE: The city district administration on Wednesday resumed the anti-encroachment operation during which it retrieved 673-kanal state land worth Rs1.58 billion from illegal occupants.

Officials said getting back the possession of 673 kanal in various parts of the city in one day was a remarkable achievement. The operation began in the first week of the month and had to be stopped ahead of the by-polls.

At the same time the operation planned by the Lahore Development Authority in collaboration with the tehsil administration and police in Tajpura couldn’t succeed as the locals reportedly forced the officials to return through a vociferous protest and blockade of roads.

“It is the biggest and wide-ranging action during which our teams headed by respective assistant commissioners (ACs) took possession of various pieces of state land measuring 673 kanal (agricultural, residential and commercial) from those illegally occupying them for long. We have also started compiling data of the state land being retrieved from the grabbers.

‘Botched Tajpura action to be rescheduled’

“Under this data, the entire pieces of state land will be displayed in Lahore’s master plan and the maps of Lahore made by the P&D department’s Urban Unit,” Deputy Commissioner retired Capt Anwarul Haq told Dawn.

During Wednesday’s day-long operations against encroachments or illegal possession, the teams retrieved various pieces of land at Farrukhabad, Begumkot, Mauza Bhi Kot (Raiwind), Hanjarwal, Eicho Gill and Thela Gulla areas.

According to officials, a team headed by Lahore city AC Safdar Virk carried out operation at Farrukhabad and retrieved a piece of 104 kanal and 10 marla state land worth Rs100 million.

In an operation at Hanjarwal, the same team retrieved 12 kanal and five marla commercial land worth about Rs866 million. The team demolished several shops, outhouses and other permanent structures with heavy machinery.

In another operation at Mauza Bhi Kot, the team led by Raiwind AC Asim Saleem retrieved 18 kanal and six marla of state land worth Rs17.5 million by demolishing a huge structure.

A team led by Shalimar AC Zaheer Liaquat retrieved 400 kanal of agricultural land worth Rs400 million at Mauza Eicho Gill.

Another team led by Cantonment AC Haider Abbas Wattoo retrieved 140 kanal agricultural land worth Rs200 million at Mauza Thela Gulla.

Meanwhile, the city administration has allowed the shopkeepers and owners of shops to voluntarily dismantle the extended concrete ground structures and other encroachments outside the business places. The decision was taken after the people approached the administration and sought permission to undertake the job on their own.

“We have done so after people requested us to allow them to dismantle the illegal structures and we have not carried out any operation in markets in the last one week or so,” said the DC.

According to an LDA official, the reason behind suspension of operation in Tajpura was a lack of coordination.

“Our team reached there at 10am but neither police officials nor the assistant commissioner or his enforcement officials were available there. Police came there after some time but the AC couldn’t reach there,” the official said on the request of anonymity.

He said people including lawyers started gathering there and staged a protest demonstration and blocked the road. “In this situation our team had no option but to return,” he said, adding that the operation would be rescheduled.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2018