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‘Plots worth Rs25bn carved out from Goths annually’
04-21-2010, 11:21 AM
Post: #1
‘Plots worth Rs25bn carved out from Goths annually’
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
By Shahid Husain

Karachi

Around 100,000 plots valued at Rs25 billion are carved out from Goths and sold every year; the extent of land-grabbing in the megalopolis Karachi can be gauged from the fact that from 2006 onwards, one land supplier in Gadap Town union council (UC)-8 has sold 75,000 plots worth about Rs20 billion, OPP-RTI Director Parveen Rehman said on Tuesday.

Rehman was speaking at a seminar titled ‘Encroachment of Land: Case Studies from Rural and Urban Karachi’, at the city campus of th NED University of Engineering and Technology. The event was organised by Shehri-Citizens for a Better Environment (Shehri-CBE) and the NED University of Engineering and Technology.

Rehman said that there were four categories of land suppliers in the city. The first are experienced land suppliers (community activists) who buy land from Goth elders, sub-divide it and then sell it. They pay back money on instalments as the plots are sold. Then there are Goth elders and relatives in the Goth who operate as a group, sub-divide land, and share profit. The third kind comprises coercive land suppliers who buy some land from Goth elders, pay little and grab more land. The fourth group comprises members of political parties who become land suppliers through government support; they grab land initially and at a later stage buy it from Goth elders, sub-divide it and sell it.

Around 650 acres were subdivided in Altaf Town after 2006; two Baloch Goths were been demolished and 20,000 plots carved out. All of this was agricultural land, Rehman said.

When elders were asked why they were getting their land plotted they said that they faced two types of “snakes”: one was black cobra that devoured every thing; the other was the yellow snake which sought shares. Obviously, they have no option but to compromise with the yellow snake, elders said.

In Bin Qasim Town a 150-square-yard plot is sold for Rs150,000. Rs50,000 are kept by the Goth elder while Rs100,000 are divided among councillors, police and other officials, Rehman said. Near NED University on University Road, a 120-square-yard plot is sold for between Rs500,000 and Rs600,000; the middle classes are buying these plots. Plots are relatively cheap in Keamari Town while in Gulshan-e-Maymar plots were being sold for Rs2 million on average, she said. In Rehri Goth, fisherfolk have taken a conscious decision to compromise with the “yellow snake,” she said.

Medhoo Goth, near Safari Park in the heart of the city, and has been devoured by the “black snake,” Rehman said. The situation is “very explosive” because old inhabitants of the city have not been given lease documents while people who acquired plots some 20 years ago have been awarded lease.

Rehman said that her survey has identified 315 Goths in Karachi. She went on to say that the ‘Katchi Abadis’ issue has become irrelevant because 72 per cent of them have been notified and have become part of the formal sector.

The Hawkesbay Scheme-42, which was initially demarcated for residential purposes, has been transformed partially into an industrial area by the Board of Revenue (BoR) which has land there in partnership side with the Karachi Development Authority, said Shehri-CBE Chairperson Dr Syed Raza Ali Gardezi. The BoR sold its land to politicians at throwaway price; these politicians immediately sold their plots for Rs500,000 to Rs600,000, making a profit of more than 1,000 per cent, Dr Gardezi said. “The case is pending in a court of law for the last four years. This is encroachment on an official level. The BoR has encroached 500 acres of gazetted and notified land,” he said.
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