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LAHORE: More than 191,911 acres of state land worth Rs. 485.06 billion have been retrieved so far in the province of Punjab, said Senior Member Board of Revenue (BoR) Punjab Babar Hayat Tarar.

Out of it, he added, 4245 acres of urban state lands worth 67.32 billion rupees while 187, 666 acres and 4 kanals of rural lands worth Rs. 417.74 billion were included.

Talking to this scribe, Babar said the Punjab government had initiated the process of retrieving illegally occupied state land under a policy finalized in 2019. Under the policy, it was decided as a matter of principle to retrieve all the state lands in the province.

Accordingly, an indiscriminate operation was carried out and a number of politicians, particularly those from the Pakistan Muslim League-N were found in illegal possession of such state lands. He said the provincial government has taken a policy decision of utilization of retrieved state lands solely for public purposes. As a priority, he said, the provincial government would allot all such lands for hospitals, educational institutions and offices of various departments as and when required.

Every state land that could be utilized for a ‘useful purpose’ would not be handed over to private person from now onwards. However, the out of reach pieces of state lands would be auctioned to private persons, he added.

According to him, only those state lands have been left abundant, which could not be retrieved in any case. While quoting an example, he said, a two canal state land was occupied by private persons in the area of Sargodha and developed a fish farm around it while utilizing his private land. It is now impossible for the district management to get retrieved this piece of land, therefore, it is still in possession of the same person.

Meanwhile, the Board has retrieved 1 acre 17 Marla of state land worth Rs 93.30 million during the last 48 hours. While giving details of crackdown against land grabbers, he said the BOR’s goal is to retrieve all the state lands from illegal encroachers across the province as soon as possible.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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