KARACHI: It appears that people who had purchased land under the Deh-89 housing scheme, a part of the Sindh Jamait Cooperative Housing Society (SJCHS), are unable to access their own land.
A group of land grabbers has taken over 95 plots, demarcated on 20 acres of land on the National Highway, and are allegedly threatening owners to stop coming back if they want to protect their lives.
SJCHS had acquired 50 acres in Bin Qasim town in 1970 after which, two housing projects had been initiated on the land. The allotment of the plots at Deh-89 started in the late 1990s, after the Deh-90 housing scheme, initiated on 30 acres of land, was completed, SJCHS president Badaruddin Sheikh told The Express Tribune.
He added that 95 plots had been issued to applicants under the Deh-89 scheme but the land had been taken over forcibly by members of the land mafia in stages.
While 12 acres of land had been grabbed earlier by some residents of Sharafi Goth and Malir and were made a part of Sharafi Goth, the remaining eight acres of land were also taken over forcibly by workers under Sohail Dada, a member of the peace committee, Sheikh alleged, who added that Dada has grabbed the entire stretch of land and was not letting anyone build homes in the area.
“At the time [when the scheme was initiated], people did not immediately start building houses on their plots. Now that they want to, land grabbers are not letting them,” said Sheikh.
The current price of the plots ranges between Rs0.8 million to Rs1.2 million, he revealed.
“Whenever we go to Deh-89, encroachers say that the land belongs to them and if we value our lives, we should stay away from the area,” one of the people who purchased land in Deh-89 told The Express Tribune. He wished to remain anonymous.
“I do not want to indulge in arguments or fights with criminals. It is the society’s duty to help us out,” he went on to say.
Plots allocated for a mosque and a park are also part of the land that has been grabbed by Dada’s men, representatives of SJCHS revealed, who added that they were under a lot of pressure as they were receiving threats from encroachers and were also being hassled by people whose land had been grabbed. “What can we do? They are part of one of the most influential gangs in the city,” said Sheikh, who blamed the provincial government and the city police for “protecting the criminals”.
“For our part, we knocked on every possible door to get justice. We complained to the TPO of Shah Latif Town. We sent applications to the chief minister and the home minister but no one paid any attention to our requests,” said SJCHS’s Muhammad Khan Sial.
Furthermore, the area police also allegedly refused to receive SJCJH’s complaints through the courier TCS.
“We were sent back our letters, mailed to the police through the TCS. The delivery man said that no one at the police station was ready to receive our letter,” said Sheikh.
Shah Latif Town police officials claimed, however, that no land has been grabbed in the area.
“We went to the site with members of the society but did not see any illegal activity in the area,” one police official claimed. “How can we arrest someone without any proof?”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2010.
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