KARACHI - Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has formed two separate cells for vacating 50,000 acres occupied private and government land from land grabbers of the City.
It is worth mentioning here that two officials given task to vacate the lands were allegedly been considered the members of the land mafia. Various mega development projects including Lyari Expressway, Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) and other witnessed delay in work of completion since long time due to illegal construction on government's land by the powerful land grabbers.
According to the compiled record of KMC's Land Department and Anti-Corruption Department about 50,000 acres private and government land had been occupied by the land grabbers. Mostly encroached lands were amnesty plots and public parks while hundreds of acre land owned by the private people, where thousands of Housing Societies and high rise buildings were constructed on the very nose of KMC's Land Department, Revenue Department and SBCA.
However, recently Sindh government finalised a plan to remove around 4,500 houses which were constructed on government land for completion of KCR project.
Land grabbers constructed the housing society or high rise buildings on the encroached land but unable to provide the basic facilities including health center, education, roads, sewerage system, clean drinking water, and regular supply of electricity in various illegal societies. Various societies are situated at the fringe of the metropolis where residents also lacked social and political empowerment and were largely dependent on local influential people. Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah in his last tenure admitted that 50,000 acres of land of the metropolis have been occupied by the land grabbers. The problem of law and order situation occurred due to the land grabbers, the long boundaries and booking office of housing societies placed on superhighway and other parts of the City.
However, administrator of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Rauf Akhtar Farooqui on Wednesday assigned the charge of chief of Anti-Encroachment Cell to Director Muhammad Bilal Manzar for quick action against the encroachment on government lands. It is worth mentioning here Manzar had earlier been transferred from KMC land departments over negligence when his assistant was found involved in scam of five million. Manzar while talking to The Nation revealed that the first priority is to remove the encroachments from the main City thoroughfares. He said that all the concerned departments are in coordination and drive aimed a smooth traffic follow on City main roads and creating hazards for the people.
On the other Side, Director General of Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and Chief Executive of Master Plan Karachi Manzoor Qadir assigned the charge of Director Master Plan to Mumtaz Haider, who was not formally charged in any case of corruption yet but thousands of illegal high rise buildings were constructed in various towns of the City. Source pointed out it would be impossible to continue the drive because of lack of coordination between the departments, police and political influence at the highest level.
It is pertinent to mention here that various armed attacks have reported on anti-encroachment teams at various parts of the metropolis but the newly established cells has not coordinated to police prior to the action against the land grabbers and removal of illegal occupations on government land despite Anti-Encroachment Cell of police also exists in the City.