DADU: Sindh Board of Revenue (BoR) has cancelled all bogus entries for allotment of land to benami allottees, most of them influential families, in dehs of Malkani, Deparcha and Bhambho Dero in Moro taluka after a thorough enquiry into land revenue records, it was learnt on Friday.

BoR’s reforms wing and special cell member Tameezudin Khero scrutinised the records of the three dehs during a recently held inquiry and found that an influential family had occupied 5,000 acres of state land and established shikargahs on the vast area while another family was in possession of about 2,000 acres state land granted to their benamis.

According to the official documents available with Dawn, the probe revealed that the occupied land fell within the river course and no land falling within the course of the river could be allotted to anyone under any “statement of conditions” issued under relevant Act of 1912.

The benami transactions of land made by the occupants in collusion with revenue officials of the district concerned deprived private landowners of their land’s produce and kept genuine haris from getting the land allotted for cultivation. Even Dray khurdi and Khas mokal right holders had been deprived of legal rights over the land and the produce thereof because of such large-scale occupations, said the documents.

The allotment of land within the river course was a Rs1,000 billion fraud which had been committed by influential people in collusion with revenue officers. Such allotments ran counter to the spirit of land grant policies which had been enacted to prevent monopoly over landholding and enjoyment of benefits accruing out of land, said the sources.

Probe finds two influential families owned around 7,000 acres in fake names

The board recently directed Naushahro Feroze deputy commissioner to ensure that private lands were restored to the names of owners and their descendants as the benami allotments had been cancelled.

It said the remaining land then be allotted in a transparent manner in accordance with land grant policy by following priority of Dray khurdi rights, Khas mokal, and leaseholder rights and then eligible peasants of the deh concerned, said the BoR.

As per decision of the board, all allotments under katcha land grant policies made so far in Deparcha, Malkani, Bhambho Dero and un-notified areas in the west of Bhambho Dero stood cancelled for being ab initio illegal except the Dray khurdi lease right allotments, which would be counted among state land.

The board directed the officer to remove encroachers from the state land, specially the influential families who had grabbed big chunks of land, under removal of encroachment act, and instructed him to support small khatedars and genuine haris.

The DC was asked to take disciplinary action against Tapedar Misri Khan Solangi and others for committing fraud in public and private land record, send reference to National Accountability Bureau for inquiry into tax evasion, occupation of public land by unauthorised persons and register case under criminal law against the land grabbers.

The board also recommended Nawabshah commissioner institute similar suo motu inquiries in all dehs of Moro taluka and flush out the remaining benami allotments.

The board ordered the Naushahro Feroze deputy commissioner to report progress on the implementation of the report on a monthly basis to registrar of the board for perusal of member of reforms and special cell of the board who was responsible for katcha land in the province.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2020

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