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LDA Avenue-I housing scheme Lahore Villagers stay put to save remaining land

Lahore (May 4, 2012) – LDA Avenue-I Housing Scheme was launched in 2002 by Lahore Development Authority, It is consist of more than 10 thousands residential plots of 10 Marla and 1 Kanal sizes. Price factor is the main reason behind Nasir Ganj villagers’ strong resistance to the LDA operation to retrieve `state’ land falling in the LDA Avenue-1 residential scheme on Raiwind Road Lahore.

Satellite Map LDA Avenue One Raiwind Road Lahore

In a day-long operation on Thursday which left over a dozen people injured, the LDA retrieved 250 kanal land the villagers had refused to surrender at a `cheaper’ rate of of Rs 400,000 per acre (eight kanal).

Nasir Ganj land owners told Dawn on Friday that though the officials had succeeded in retrieving the land from them forcibly on Thursday, they would put up a do and died resistance if the authority tried to eject them from the remaining seven kanal land housing their dwellings.

“Most of the male family members were not present in the village on Thursday. In our absence scores of LDA staff and policemen entered the village along with heavy machinery and started demolishing our houses without giving us any notice in advance,” Mian Babar Ali, a land owner, told Dawn.

He said his uncle Haji Hameed Ali briefed the LDA team on the legal position of the land and certain commitments about payment of a reasonable compensation by former LDA Director General Abdul Jabbar Shaheen, but no one listened to him and continued demolishing their houses. “Legally the land where structures (houses and buildings) already existed could not be acquired under the Land Revenue Act,” he claimed.

Talking to Dawn, Haji Hameed Ali rejected ADG Ms Kayani’s claim on thrashing the protesting women (Raheela and Naseem) in self-defence. He said how could in the presence of over 300 LDA staff and police one or two women dared touch Ms Kayani.

He said the LDA announced launch of this scheme (Avenue-1) in 2002 and included around 257-kanal land in the award list in 2003 under the Land Acquisition Act without consulting all the owners. “As we were not ready to surrender our land to the LDA because of their unrealistic price offer, we approached the courts to settle the price issue (the case is still pending).

He said in December 2011, the then LDA DG contacted him and other land owners and a series of dialogues took place. He said during the first week of March this year, Mr Shaheen decided to give 25 per cent developed plots of the total land (if surrendered by their owners) on the pattern of DHA. “The DG constituted a committee in this regard and we too welcomed this decision,” he said, adding that on March 19 the government transferred Mr Shaheen to Gujranawala and his successor Mr Ahad Cheema didn’t follow his predecessor’s decision.

He said the village where a piece of land measuring one acre (adjacent to our land in the Iqbal Avenue residential scheme) was being sold for Rs10 million, why should we accept such a meager price of Rs400,000 for the LDA Avenue-1 scheme. “We want the government to pay us according to the market value or give us the developed plots (25 per cent
share of the total surrendered land).

PROTEST: Earlier scores of the residents of Nasir Ganj staged a protest rally at Raiwind Road and chanted slogans against the LDA and the Punjab government. They burnt used tyres and blocked the road for over an hour. They ended their protest when a police team led by SP Athar Waheed assured them that their meeting would be arranged with the chief minister.

COMMISSIONER: Lahore Commissioner Jawad Rafique Malik said the CM had taken notice of the LDA operation, directing the authorities concerned to submit their report.

When asked about the LDA management’s next course of action on May 7 for retrieving the rest of seven kanal land, Mr Malik said now there would be no such operation after the CM personally took notice. “The LDA management is liable to wait for a final word from the CM.”

Talking about Ms Kayani’s act of `thrashing’ the women protesters, he said he had already asked the Lahore DCO to submit a detailed report to him for the onward submission to the CM. Asked whether a female senior official should supervise such a big operation, the commissioner said: “Look Ms Kayani is an active DMG official and it was her job
requirement to perform field visits. But I think she being an ADG (Headquarters or Housing) was not required to carry out such a major operation in a village where any thing could have happened during the retrieval of land.”

He said he was of the view that Ms Kayani should have planned this operation by supervising her subordinate directors, assistant directors and other officials rather than dealing the villagers directly.

Meanwhile, ADG Ms Marium Kayani again denied the allegations leveled against her by the villagers. “I reacted in self-defence on Thursday after a woman approached me and started pulling my shawal,” she said.Talking about the commitments made by the former LDA DG regarding giving developed plots against the surrendered land, as claimed by the
land owners, Ms Kayani said though Mr Shaheen (former DG) had constituted a committee about considering the request of the landowners for giving them developed plots against the land they had surrendered according to the award of the scheme in 2003, a meeting of the authority comprising around 25 members had rejected this suggestion/request.

She said the LDA was checking its record related to Khasra numbers of the rest of the land (constructed houses etc). “And if these Khasra numbers were found in the award list under Land Acquisition Act, the land owners will have to surrender this piece of land (seven-kanal) under the law. She said the land owners had been offered Rs400,000 per acre according to market price as assessed by the revenue department in 2003. “And if they (the owners) are not ready, they should approach the relevant court and not force the LDA to enhance the amount,” Ms Kayni added.

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