–Chief Minister Buzdar reiterates commitment to protect ‘each and every’ penny of people, hold the corrupt accountable
–Claims Bahria Town illegally occupied 47 kanals and 15 marlas of state land belonging to PCBL
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said on Thursday that as many as 759,428 kanals of illegally occupied state land had been recovered during the crackdown on land mafia by the incumbent government.
Addressing a press conference at his office, the chief minister said the total cost of the retrieved land added up to trillions of rupees, which was almost equal to the entire development budget of the province.
“Success of the indiscriminate action is an extraordinary achievement of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as no leniency has been shown to anyone.”
Sharing details of the land retrieved across the province, he said that 56,264 kanals were recovered in Lahore, 22,788 kanals in Gujranwala and 130,000 in Faisalabad division.
“Similarly, 7,350 kanals of state land were retrieved in the Rawalpindi division, 405,665 kanals in Dera Ghazi Khan, 14,563 kanals in Bahawalpur, 36,000 kanals in Sahiwal, 56,284 kanals in Sargodha and another 24,000 kanals in Multan,” he said.
The chief minister added that all departments concerned have taken custody of the recovered lands and a database has also been established for its best utilisation.
“Meanwhile, anti-encroachment committees have also been established at the district level and utmost efforts are being made so that low-income groups engaged in small-scale businesses are not disturbed amid the operation.”
The government, he said, will protect each and every penny of the people, adding that those who had illegally benefitted from their influence, would be held accountable for their actions.
“We have put the system on the right track within the first 100 days and pinpointed our targets.”
The chief minister also spoke of the austerity measures the incumbent government has taken and said that millions were being saved by cutting down additional security and other costs earlier bore by the CM Office.
Releasing details of various actions imitated to curb the menace of corruption during his administration’s first three months, Buzdar said the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) had so far recovered Rs34 billion.
“Rs2 billion have been received in the head of fines and Rs32 billion has been gained by retrieving state lands.”
The chief minister also spoke of the three cases that have surfaced against Bahria Town Lahore and said that in the first one, Bahria Town allegedly illegally occupied 47 kanals and 15 marlas of state land belonging to PCBL.
“The cost of this land is Rs2.35 billion whereas, in the second one, it illegally occupied 59 kanals of Punjab Auqaf Department’s land worth Rs1.77 billion.”
“It also started a number of housing societies, including Bahria Orchard II, III, IV and Icon Valley to name a few, without the approval of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), due to which losses worth Rs1.12 billion were inflicted to the national exchequer,” he said.
Taking a jibe at the outgoing Shehbaz Sharif-led Punjab administration, he said that former governments remained busy in constructing flyovers and bridges and did nothing for the poor.
“We, on the other hand, are providing to the people sleeping under those bridges and are introducing the shelter homes project.”
Provincial ministers Fayyazul Hassan Chohan and Raja Basharat besides spokesperson to the chief minister, Dr Shahbaz Gill, were also present on the occasion.
DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Separately, CM Buzdar said that investment in human development is the ultimate practice for a brighter future of any country. “It is critical for national progress,” he added.
Speaking during a meeting with the head of United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Pakistan, Joanna Reid, the chief minister said that DFID is the best partner of Punjab government for the development of the social sector and the partnership, he added, will be taken further.
“The PTI government will provide relief to the masses through an improved mechanism of good governance. The people will be facilitated through an extended role in health, education and skills development sectors as the government believes in durable development.”
He said the government will give back masses their rights by providing better facilities and people’s sense of deprivation, especially in remote areas, will be addressed.
CM Buzdar appreciated the cooperation extended by DFID in healthcare, education, skills development and other sectors, adding that the department’s role in providing necessary facilities at the doorsteps of the people as well as steps for girls’ education, especially in the tribal areas of Punjab, will be welcomed.
“The provision of a balanced diet to children has been specially taken care of to make the younger generation healthy and the government is willing to extend the scope of DFID’s cooperation in the nutrition programme.”
He also appreciated DFID’s support in the economic empowerment of women.
Joanna Reid, on the occasion, assured that DFID will continue its cooperation with Punjab and necessary support will be provided for the government’s reforms agenda as well.