RAWALPINDI: Chakwal district administration has claimed that the acquisition of over 2,500 kanals of land in a Chakwal village for a private cement factory is not illegal.
The court had stopped the Punjab government from acquiring the land in Buchal Kalan village for the cement factory after villagers moved the court against the move.
The petitioners had maintained that the government was acquiring their ancestral lands for commercial purposes.
Chakwal district collector on Thursday submitted his reply in the court saying they were following “due course of law” to acquire 2,587 kanals of land for the cement factory in the village.
The collector said that Lucky Cement moved an application to the “director general of industries, prices, weight and measures” for acquisition of the land in Bochal Kalan, Kallar Kahar. He said a notification for acquiring the land was issued by him after following due course of law.
Justice Shahid Mobin of the LHC could not take up the petition on Thursday after the collector submitted his reply.
The court had, on April 11, stopped the Punjab government from acquiring the land in the village.
In his reply, the collector claimed that the establishment of the cement plant in the area would generate employment and bring in new road, a hospital and a school.
The villagers, however, said that the factory would only give them low-paying jobs. They said the project would damage their financial and social interests by depriving them of lands they have used for agriculture and dairy purposes for generations.
Defending the decision to build the cement plant, the collector said that the required land mostly consisted of barren and hilly area. Only a small portion of agricultural land would be acquired for the factory, he noted.
He also claimed that the new factory would have no harmful effect on the environment and requested the court to set aside the petition filed by the villagers.
Petitioners said two cement factories had already been working in the area and establishment of a new one would also damage environment.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2016.