Friday, April 24, 2009

Land mafia?: Rs 150m plot ‘saved’ from encroachment

By Irfan Aligi

KARACHI: The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) nearly lost a high-valued plot of land located in Karachi Administrative Cooperative Housing Society (KACHS). The plot had been partly encroached upon and is CDGK’s property through defunct KMC. The plot measures 1,500 square yards and it has an auction value of Rs 150 million.

Talking to Daily Times, District Officer (DO) Land Enforcement Abdul Malik said that he had sent Deputy DO Shakir Zaki to the plot to stop the ongoing construction.

When this reporter contacted Zaki, he told Daily Times that Baloch Colony police station had started construction of a police post on the plot, which was stopped on Thursday.

Zaki further said that the plot was handed over to CDGK’s Engineering Department in 1992 and originally was the property of the defunct KMC, which is now a part of CDGK after the devolution of powers.

Replying to a question, Zaki said that the area police had started construction of a police post on CDGK’s plot, citing the reason to be the escalating criminal activities in the park opposite CDGK’s plot.

According to Zaki, the police have assured him that they would submit an undertaking to the CDGK, stating that the police post would be removed and the possession of the plot would be handed over to the CDGK without delay whenever the CDGK would demand the plot back.

Zaki said that the construction of the police post has been stopped while he has asked the police to contact the Karachi DCO for permission to use the plot.

On a question, Zaki alleged that the KACHS administration has falsely claimed ownership of the plot and has allowed the police to take possession of the plot and proceed to construct a police post but now the police have been told that the plot is CDGK’s property.

Sources in CDGK told Daily Times that officers concerned from defunct KMC in collaboration with the area police were involved in the encroachment plan of the plot.

When this reporter contacted defunct KMC Land Director Tariq Naseer for his comments, he expressed his ignorance over the issue. He also said that the plot was not listed within the limits of his legal jurisdiction.

Replying to a question, Naseer refuted his involvement in any encroachment scam and further said that is this scribe has an authentic report then it should be published at all costs.

Talking to Daily Times, Baloch Colony police station SHO Hyder Ali Zaidi said that it was the KACHS administration’s decision to construct a room for the police check post, not on the plot but at the rear bank of the sewerage line.

The purpose to establish the police check post was to curb the street crimes in the area, he said while adding that the plot was not encroached upon.

The establishment of the check post by the residents of the area was a manifest of their trust on the police and they have further assured their cooperation to assist the area police for better services, he said. (DT Report)