RAWALPINDI: A cell has been formed to crack down on ‘state land grabbers’ and the provincial government has directed district police across the province to assist government departments in removing illegal encroachments from government land.
According to a source, the move came after Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Lahore and told the provincial government to remove all illegal encroachments on government land in Punjab.
In response to the provincial government’s directives, various government departments whose land has been encroached upon have sought the police’s help to have it vacated.
Rawalpindi police focal person Superintendent of Police (SP) Rai Mazhar Iqbal toldDawnthe police cannot remove illegal encroachments from government land themselves, but will provide security when their assistance is sought by any government department.
Asked if the police have received any such request, Mr Iqbal said: “Yes, the police received one such request from the Rawalpindi Development Authority regarding vacating government land. Police protection was provided to the concerned department.”
According to the source, the livestock and dairy development department has provided a detailed list of state land that has been encroached upon.
Meanwhile, the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) will launch an anti-encroachment drive in the cantonment areas against building owners who have illegally extended their buildings onto pavements and roads.
A senior RCB official told Dawn that the board’s land branch has been asked to conduct a survey of the five main cantonment commercial areas, including Saddar, Westridge and Tench Bhatta, within a wek.
He said land branch officials will check the original right-of-way and if they find any permanent or temporary encroachments they will prepare a report that will be handed over to the anti-encroachment squad for action.
Another RCB official said there are many shops constructed in Saddar that have extended their premises with verandas along the pavement on Bank Road.
He said the RCB has received many complaints from residents saying there is no room to walk on the pavement or the side of the road due to the encroachments.