LAHORE - Disclosure of illegal occupation of state land in most of the proposed as well as some ongoing mega development projects of the provincial capital have not only unveiled face of the Revenue Department but also put a question on the honesty of officials of the department, it was learnt.
It also was learnt that different government departments and the district administration declaring illegal swept off dozens of structures situated near or falling in the project sites before initiating the projects to straighten up records.
Development projects include overhead bridges, Metro bus extensions, roads widening, U turns and dual carriage ways.
The amount of illegal occupations raises a question on the role of the revenue department. Some stakeholders raise concerns that what the departments were doing when the encroachers extending structures. Also, why no action was taken against land that has been occupied since 20 to 40 years from now.
“Either officials were negligent or very kind to encroachers to let them construct and later live in illegally extended building for years instead of tracking them down and penalising them”, they alleged.
Rasheed, Nawaz and some stakeholders claimed that they were legal owner of the land according to the record of Revenue Department alleging the government demolished their shops and buildings forcibly for the proposed plan of two U-Turns at Ferozpur Road on the Metro Bus Track.
They further claimed that they purchased such land after confirmation from the Revenue Department.
When contacted, the TEPA Director and Project Director Mazhar Ali Khan said that the TEPA is going to demolish about 500 shops and other structures for the construction of proposed U-Turns for which the government would compensate stakeholders having all the legal documents as a proof of their ownership of the properties.
He said that those identified as encroachers are being swept off.
He advised stakeholders to go consult revenue authorities or challenge their status in the office of Assistant Commissioner.
However, he was reluctant to comment on the role of Revenue Department and other government departments.
The government also demolished dozens of structures before starting the project of LOS Dual Carriage Project declaring them illegal despite the fact that some illegal buildings were constructed about 40 years ago and no action was being taken against them by any concerned department but were declared them illegal only when the government required such land for completion of the project.