Irregularities in 335 housing schemes found

LAHORE - The government has failed to force the management of the Education Housing Society, one of the biggest housing scandals, either to provide the plots to the affectees or return their hard-earned money. FIRs have already been registered against the perpetrators. More than 4,500 affectees, including the Pakistani expatriates, are waiting for the allotment of their plots, who have been given just forged files of plots by management. The affectees said that the bogus land developers, who were the noted educationists as well as the government serving employees, have deprived innocent plot seekers of their over Rs1 billion by selling them forged papers around seven years ago. The fraudulent owners of the Education Housing Society fleeced the public and managed to escape along with hard-earned money of poor people without giving them the possession of their plots. When contacted, an official of the special cell of the Punjab CM Secretariat, requesting anonymity, informed The Nation that these one or two bogus housing schemes fell under Islamabad jurisdiction. After receiving complaints regarding bogus schemes, the CM complaint cell forwarded the cases to federal anti-corruption department. Mostly we receive complaints regarding settlements of plots, where more than one owner claims ownership of those plots. We send such cases to the Secretary of Cooperative Societies, who resolve these issues, the official said. He said several housing schemes are launched without government registration, which is unlawful. There is duty of concerned TMO, DCO or LDA to probe such schemes and take action against them. He pointed out that as per the new-amended law of 2010, when an agricultural land is converted into a housing scheme, the land developers have to pay some fee. But several housing schemes did not pay their fee. Talking in details about the fake Education City, Raja Abbas Ali, a worker at a factory, said that he and his family got about five plots booked in the Education Society and paid over Rs1.5 million in instalments. When they found the scheme a fraud they traced other affectees and sent an application to Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif for investigation. He said that the Anti-Corruption Establishment launched an investigation against the owners of the scheme. When the management was found guilty the government got an FIR registered against them but the criminals are still at large. He said that the scheme is one of the biggest housing scandals in the education sector. According to him, over 4,500 affectees have been waiting for the allotments for the last seven years, as they were deprived of over Rs1 billion. Raja Abbas said that noted educationists were involved in the establishment of fake housing society near Islamabad airport. The looters started the campaign through media and sold thousands of plots and then disappeared. He said the educationists included ex-chairman of Rawalpindi Secondary Education Board, Wahdat Road College former principal Dr Iftikhar Baig, Prof Syed Ashfaq Hussain from MAO College and Nazir Ahmed PA to Education Secretary. Saima Naz, a member of the Education City Islamabad, said she paid Rs 75,000 to Foundation for five marla plot in two years. After payment, I tried to contact the authorities to get latest development status about the housing society but all in vain. It looks like they have run away as the office is closed for the last three weeks, said Saima. Another victim Prof Samina Firdaus stated that management of society closed Lahore office after plundering billions of rupees. She said people paid instalments for five, 10 and 20 marlas plots in phase I and II of the Education City. There were hundreds of lady teachers and lecturers like me who paid instalments from their monthly savings hoping for a better future. Besides widows, retired people and salaried class were caught in this fraudulent private housing scheme and bought the files of new plots without checking the legalities regarding the documentations of plots, Ms Samina observed.

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