KARACHI: The Sindh Government's Transport and Mass Transit Department has once again sprung into action to get its lands, worth billions of rupees, vacated. The properties scattered across the province, belong to the Karachi Transport Corporation (KTC) and the Sindh Road Transport Corporation (SRTC), and are occupied by various institutions.
The department has written letters to the Sindh Police chief, Karachi Commissioner and the deputy commissioners and DIGs of Sukkur, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad, seeking help to retrieve the land.
According to the transport department's records, the said properties, some measuring hardly an acre (a land measure equivalent to 4,840 square yards), while others much larger, have been encroached upon by various government agencies and departments.
In all, the various departments have upon 69 acres and 345 gantay (a land measure equivalent to three acres), besides smaller parcels totaling up to 14,969 square yards in Karachi alone. This is besides the 69 acres and 636 gantay land occupied in rural Sindh.
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Out of the most expensive pieces of land is the KTC Depot in Korangi, located on main Korangi Road. Of the 24 acre-plot, five acres are in use of the Sindh Rangers, while 19 acres have been allocated for a judicial complex.
Another tract of the KTC's land at Malir S. No. 155 located near the Malir Halt, measuring 12.1 acres, is currently under the use of the Sindh Rangers, who also possess a 10-acre plot of land, bearing the title KTC Mehran Depot, in Model Colony. A third tract of land in use of the Sindh Rangers is the KTC's 8.36-acre Depot on Street 1, Gulistan-e-Jauhar Block 6.
Meanwhile, the transport department only has the possession of three acres of the 7.48-acre plot of its Manghopir Central Workshop. The remaining was allotted, with approval from the chief minister, to the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate Limited.
Another 6.15-acre plot belonging to the KTC near Abdullah College, Nazimabad, is under the possession of Pirabad Police Station, K-P General Bus Terminal and the BRTS terminal.
Swedish Pak Bus Private Limited possesses a 5.9-acre land where a former KTC Depot was located in UP Mor, North Karachi. A 5.3-acre plot at Dawood Chowrangi, Landhi, is under the possession of Al-Aziz Private Bus Operators. Another 2.4-acre land, marked as the KTC Bus Terminal in Surjani, North Karachi, is under the possession of the Green Bus Company.
Around half of the 0.72-acre plot, 21 G-Garden Road, Karachi, has been encroached upon by private bus operator, Raja Sikandar Hayat. The case is being heard in court.
Meanwhile, the town municipal administration, without the transport department's permission, has turned the SRTC's Plot No. S-26, spread over an area of 3.47 acres on Gulbai Maripur Road, into a football ground.
The total area of the third and fourth floors of the KTC's Head Office located in the Civic Center is 12,751 square yards. The fourth floor is physically under the possession of the Excise and Taxation Department while the transport department is using the third floor.
Currently, an accountability court, the offices of the Rural Development Department DG, Katchi Abadi Director, Human Rights Director, UC-IV Chairman and others are situated on a 15-acre tract of land belonging to the Sindh Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) in Hyderabad's Wahdat Colony.
Former SRTC employees and other individuals have occupied the 105 colony quarters located on this land, while the space for the workshop is vacant. There include one type-A bungalow, four type-B bungalows, 19 type-C quarters and 80 type-D quarters, besides three staff quarter and a Maulvi quarter.
Another 20-acre tract land, formerly the SRTC headquarters at 10-A Latifabad, Hyderabad, is under the possession of the Military Police.
Meanwhile, land measuring 6.15 acres near the Makli Eidgah in Thatta, which was meant to serve as the SRTC's depot and workshop, has been encroached upon by former SRTC employees and other individuals.
Separately, the Sindh Rangers and the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) are in the possession of open plot numbers 77, 79, 83, 84 and 85, which are part of a 9.53-acre tract of land belonging to the SRTC. These are located on Meeru Khan Road, Larkana.
A police check post is built on a 0.41-acre of land on the SRTC's bus stand in Larkana.
The total land of the SRTC depot's workshop numbers 360, 561, 367 is nine acres, which has been turned into a football stadium by the town municipal administration without taking any permission from the department.
Former Transport Secretary Akhtar Hussain Ghauri, who wrote the letters and was recently relieved from the post, told The Express Tribune that the department planned to run buses in Karachi, after retrieving all the land so that the transport woes faced by the public could be resolved.
The government has decided to reach out to investors to introduce standard buses in the city. As an incentive, the provincial government will provide them with depots on these pieces of land for the next 20 years to park their buses.
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