LAHORE: The Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) is allegedly facing pressure from the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sports, Archaeology and Tourism to allow it acquisition of 40-kanal piece of land belonging to a government college in Gulberg.

The ministry wants to construct a sports school on the land of the college situated at a prime location facing Ferozepur Road.

The sports ministry had sent a letter to the HED secretary in August last seeking a no objection certificate (NOC) for the acquisition of a 40-kanal piece of land of the Government College for Boys, Gulberg.

Sources in the HED said the land of an educational institution could not be used for any other purpose under the law. However, they said, the sports ministry had been pressuring the secretary to issue the NOC.

The college administration also opposed the acquisition of its land and made a representation to the HED secretary arguing that the construction of a sports school on the premises of the college was also against the judgement of the Supreme Court.

Sources said the officials of the sports ministry had already earmarked the proposed property for demolition and had been visiting it every other day as a pressure tactic.

The proposed site and buildings are currently being utilised for academic/ sport, administrative activities and residences of the principal, vice principal, hostel warden, hostel superintendent and Grade-IV employees. There is no vacant building or spare land on the premises of the college.

As many as 3,500 students are studying in the college that already requires more infrastructure and teaching facilities to run it at the optimal level. The available college land would be utilised to meet the current and future academic requirements.

The number of students would also increase after the start of the next academic year when the college would start six new BS programmes including sports sciences.

HED Secretary Sajid Zaffar Dall told Dawn that his office had received the application for an NOC and would respond after briefing the authorities concerned. He said there had been no pressure from any quarter for the issuance of the NOC.

“The college had already applied for starting BS and it would need infrastructure and how any other department can be given the NOC,” he said.

In 2014, the Punjab government had tried to rent out the 10-kanal piece of land of the same college to a private bus company that had clinched an agreement to get the land on a Rs500,000 monthly rent for 18 months (not extendable). However, the administration had to hold college council meetings four times to look into government’s demands and eventually refused to give the land.

The college administration resisted citing the case of the Punjab University and Supreme Court’s decision that the land of any educational institution could not be used for any other purpose.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2020