The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has never carried out proper valuation of its assets since its inception and has not conducted any survey of its land since 1975.
The ETPB chairman told this to a recently held federal cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, and also gave a presentation on the board’s properties.
He said the ETPB has 15,619 urban properties, 19 plazas and 109,956 acres of agriculture land. The largest number of urban properties are in Punjab (11,139) followed by Sindh (3144), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1141) and Balochistan (195).
The largest agricultural area, of 85,920 acres, is in Punjab followed by Sindh (21,735 acres) and K-P (2,301 acres). The rental income from these properties stands at Rs1.53 billion in financial year 2018-19.
He also shared the board’s plans for retrieval, development and utilisation of the ETPB assets.
The chairman proposed constitution of a committee comprising the ETPB, local administration and representatives of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Special Branch for reclaiming the ETPB land and properties currently possessed by illegal occupants.
He said the former prime minister’s directive for the ETPB to desist from making any major decisions relating to its properties was a hindrance in the way to efficient utilisation of its land and properties.
The chairman said the board now intended to carry out digitisation of its properties which would enable it to better manage its assets. He said the valuations are very low and even then many lessees do not even pay the rentals.
“Additionally, pending litigation regarding enhancement of rental rates as well as on the question of the ETPB’s devolution to the provinces are major impediments. No survey of the ETPB land has been carried out since 1975 and it has never carried out proper valuation of its assets since its inception,” he said.
After the briefing, some members of the federal cabinet termed the ETPB as the most corrupt institution, which, according to them, has leased out its properties at throwaway prices.
They claimed that the ETPB management and employees profited through these transactions and said said the organisation has no clear idea of the area of land it possesses.
Religious Affairs Division secretary said during the last one year, the board had been revamped by bringing in new people. The ETPB chairman had been appointed following a transparent process.
He said Gurdawara Parbhandak committee had been set up and a gradual approach for retrieval of land had been initiated. However, the cabinet members pointed out similar issues with Auqaf Land and emphasised the need for an overarching policy.
The cabinet directed the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the ETPB to develop a business plan for lease of evacuee properties based on their market value.
The government also decided to review the business plan with the provinces that may include categorisation of properties, their valuation and the proposals for optimum utilisation.