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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday expressed shock over massive encroachment of state land, including forest land worth Rs5595 billion, saying it has aggravated country’s existing lack of sufficient forest cover. In a tweet, he said that first phase of the digitalized cadastral mapping of Pakistan had detected a massive encroachment of state land worth Rs5595 billion.

The prime minister shared the shocking facts coming out of the digitalized land record revealing that the encroached properties also included forestland valuing Rs1869 billion.

He said the encroachment had also aggravated Pakistan’s existing lack of sufficient forest cover. He said like the Electronic Voting Machines, the government also faced massive resistance while beginning the cadastral mapping of Pakistan to digitalize land records.

“The results of phase 1 survey of state lands shows why the resistance: phenomenal state land encroachment including of forestland through land mafia-political elite connivance,” he commented. With this accurate digital record, he said the government would now take action against these land mafias and their facilitators.

PM directs provinces to expedite legislation to stop land-use changes

Earlier in a presser, the special assistant to the prime minister on climate change Malik Amin Aslam said that in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa around 160,000 acres of state land was encroached.

The forestland mapping of 30,000 square kilometres was also completed and 700,000 acres of forest land was found to have been intruded by the land mafia.

Takhtpari Forest in Rawalpindi had a total of 2,210 acres area, of which 755 acres are encroached, he said, adding the Lohi Bher Forest had over 57 percent (629 acres) of its total area encroached by land mafia.

Aslam said that the government has completed the cadastral mapping of the state land, adding the government is determined to recover the state land from illegal occupants.

He said that 10,000 acres, of 15,000 forest land in Shaheed Benazirabad has been illegally occupied, which makes 70 percent of the total forest land of the district.

He said in Takhtpari area of Rawalpindi, 755 acres, of 2,200 acres forest land have been illegally occupied, which makes 34 percent of the total land.

He said that Survey of Pakistan covered every inch of the state land, while compiling the cadastral map of the country.

He said action will be taken against the illegal occupants of the state land. Aslam said forest cover of Pakistan can be enhanced up to five to seven percent if illegally occupied forest land is recovered.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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Naveed Khan Nov 22, 2021 06:50am
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