Distt Admin claims to retrieves 301,218 sq ft land during anti-encroachment operation

HYDERABAD:The District Administration Hyderabad has claimed of recovering some 301,218 square feet land worth Rs.869.8 million during the month-long anti-encroachment operation in the district.

According to a report submitted by Deputy Commissioner in Sindh High Court here on Wednesday,the operation continued as per the SHC’s orders in all the 4 talukas of Hyderabad.

As per the report, 134,360 sq ft area worth about Rs.671.8 million has has been recovered in Latifabad taluka and 10,500 sq ft area valued at over Rs.100 million in Qasimabad taluka.

Another 40,358 sq ft of the government land with estimated value of Rs.88.13 million and 21,500 sq ft land worth Rs.9.4 million have been recovered in taluka Hyderabad and in City taluka, respectively.

On January 28, 2021,SHC Hyderabad Circuit Bench in CP No D-1726 of 2012, Agha Nizamuddin versus Sindh Government had ordered to remove all types of encroachments from all public places,roads,streets and footpaths.

The district administration and municipal authorities were given 30

days to complete the task and to submit a compliance report on March 2,

2021.

During the hearing, the SHC extended the deadline by 30 more days and

summoned Sindh Secretary Finance, chief of Hyderabad Electric Supply

Company (HESCO) and Regional Director Sindh Building Control Authority

(SBCA) on March 11.

The court also turned a set of 15 recommendations of DC Fuad Ghaffar

Soomro, pertaining to a fruitful anti encroachment exercise into an

order of the court.

In his recommendations the DC pointed out that the land recovered after grueling anti encroachments operations was often reoccupied because no projects of road expansion or construction of footpaths followed those operations.

He apprised the court that his administration had carried out a feasibility study for the road expansion works which would ease the flow of traffic in the district for next 25 years.

According to him, Rs1.733 billion were required for the said expansion

works in the district.

“The parties [to the litigation], their learned counsels and the officials present in the court support the said recommendations by agreeing that the same are in the best interest of Hyderabad city and the citizens,” the bench observed in its order.

“Accordingly, with their consent the following recommendations are

made ‘rule of this court’,” it added.

The recommendations urged the court to order the police to provide the needed security cover to the administration and the municipal staff during the operations, pointing out a hitherto lukewarm response of the police force.

The DC blamed Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and Hyderabad

Development Authority (HDA) for having miserably failed to keep a

check on unplanned urban sprawl and the construction of illegal

multi-storey buildings.

“A performance review of the last six months of SBCA will present a

clearer picture of the dismal situation,” his report stated.

“Similarly, the HDA has turned a blind eye and approves any projects

that come its way,” the report added.

The report accused the stating that the HDA without due consideration for green spaces, pedestrian paths, commercial and residential zoning has given blanket approval for commercialization in the city and transformed into an urban concrete jungle with no distinction of zoning.

The construction work on high-rise buildings continues unabated despite expiry of their work permit and, resultantly, the construction material placed outside the premises on the roads adds to traffic woes.

The report highlighted the disproportionate sharing of the betterment

charges collected by the SBCA from the commercial projects.

Since 2010, SBCA has been collecting Rs50 per square foot in lieu of

betterment charges.

The authority keeps 25 percent of the collected amount with itself while 55 percent was handed over to either Hyderabad Municipal Corporation or Qasimabad Municipal Committee and remaining 20 percent

to Water and Sanitation Agency.

The DC proposed to the SHC to order that WASA should be given 60 percent share, followed by 30 percent share of the municipal authorities while the SBCA should keep only 10 percent as the service charges against the collection.

“Considering that WASA is responsible for provision of clean drinking water as well as sewerage, the distribution needs to be revised,” he added,while also pointed out that WASA was facing acute shortage of funds and the additional funds would help restore its financial health.

The DC’s recommendations stressed upon the need of declaring and

limiting zones of high rise buildings and commercial activities in the city.

“There is a dire need to impose a complete ban on multistory buildings on Wadhu Wah and many other main roads,” it suggested.

The DC pleaded before the bench to order an immediate stop to conversion of plots from residential to commercial.

“The large scale conversions have played havoc to the fragile and old infrastructure of water supply and sewerage systems. Massive conversion of land by HDA and HMC has adversely impacted the quality of life,” he added.

The recommendations also accused HESCO for its disinterest towards properly aligning the electricity poles and requested the court to order the proper alignment.

“HESCO is not investing in upgrading the transmission. HESCO authorities may be ordered to apprise the court regarding operation and maintenance expenditures made in the past 10 years,” the recommendations added.

The recommendations suggested removal of the power generators from the

footpaths and green belts, removal of cattle pens from residential areas and stopping private schools, restaurants and roadside hotels from occupying the roads which caused traffic congestion.

The DC also apprised the court that on directions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, anti-encroachment operation was also progressing on daily basis for recovering the irrigation land.

According to him, so far over 80 acres of land, primarily encroachment on dykes and waterways had been removed.

However, he added, due to overlap of timing between the 2 operations and limited availability of resources, the operation against urban encroachments was progressing slowly.