LAHORE: Affected people have widely admired the Lahore High Court for setting aside Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) Act-2021, declaring implementation of Land Acquisition Act illegal and saving precious agriculture land along River Ravi banks.

“We are very thankful to the court for hearing us patiently and admitting our stance as based on facts,” Kisan Action Committee Chairman Mian Mustafa Rashid said while commenting on Tuesday’s LHC decision.

“We had already said that an East-India type company is in the making that wants to grab our thousands of acres of agriculture land for just Rs1,475 per Marla,” he said, urging the government to better remain away from doing such interventions.

Mr Rashid, who was also one of the petitioners in various petitions against the Ravi project, appreciated the farmers for showing unity and resisting the land acquisition process for the project.

CM’s aide says govt considering legal options

Talking to Dawn, Sajjad Gujjar, another petitioner holding over 2,000 kanal land in the project area, expressed confidence over the courts saying justice prevailed finally. He said the court verdict had not only protected agriculture but also helped in reducing future population. He advised the government to not make business through such projects.

“It is the job of the government to protect lives and livelihoods of people and not make business,” he added.

Meanwhile referring to the court decision on land acquisition by the RUDA, Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister Hasaan Khawar said: “Our legal team is minutely going through the decision of the Lahore High Court and the government is considering all legal options in this regard.”

He said the court has issued orders regarding certain clauses related to land acquisition by the RUDA. The authority would continue its work by bringing it in consonance with the court orders, he maintained.

Mr Khawar said that RUDA’s was a milestone project for bright future of the country and the nation. He said that new cities were being built according to the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and under the directive of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. In major cities, projects such as RUDA’s were essential for population control, elimination of environmental pollution and provision of better civic facilities, he said.

He further said development work on Chahar Bagh was in full swing while other issues of the Authority were also being dealt with expeditiously. He said the government’s legal team would soon address concerns over land acquisition.

Mr Khawar also said the scope of rescue services was being expanded to meet the growing needs of the population of Punjab and soon with the induction of a new fleet of 250 ambulances, Rescue 1122 service was being launched in 79 tehsils of Punjab.

He said in the journey of tacit development, 7,000 schools were being run on double shift under the Insaf Afternoon programme and this number would soon reach 27,000.

On the murder of a journalist in front of the Lahore Press Club, he said the journalist community, especially crime reporters, were unarmed warriors who stood with the government in the fight against crime.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2022

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