CM constitutes committee to review pumps’lease

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LAHORE – Bowing down to pressure of petrol pump dealers and oil companies, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday constituted a 10-member committee to review the lease auction procedures of petrol pump sites. Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman would head the committee while the CM’s PSO Khawaja Imran Raja would act as focal person and petrol pump dealers and oil companies’ officials would also be included in the committee.
During former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s regime, former Punjab CM Manzoor Wattoo was convicted by a Lahore accountability court for allocating a petrol pump site to a woman against rules.
The issue was raised on May 14 when Punjab Opposition Leader Chaudhry Zaheeruddin grilled Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Director General (DG) Umer Rasool over irregularities in the lease properties. On May 30, LDA reclaimed two sites at Liberty including Plot number 90-C/2 Gulberg measuring one kanal and 12 marlas and 120 Timber Market, Ravi Road measuring one kanal and 4 marlas.
It demolished a Pakistan State Oil (PSO) petrol pump to construct a parking plaza. Afterwards, LDA started re-auctioning 31 petrol pumps located on its sites. The situation further worsened, when LDA again announced to auction lease of 28 petrol pump sites feeling heartened with lease of Rs 9.86 million per kanal of its petrol pump site 90-C/2 Gulberg II on an annual basis against lease price of Rs 0.168 million in the past. Reacting to the situation, petrol pumps dealers association termed the move as illegal and protested against the issue and held numerous meetings with the Punjab CM in this regard. Finally, the CM agreed to resolve the matter with consultations and formed a 10-member committee.
Data collected by Pakistan Today revealed that the Punjab government probed into the issue and found out that occupation of around 90 percent of precious roadside, land leased out for 291 petrol pumps in 36 districts of Punjab was against rules and regulations. In Lahore alone, 92 sites had been leased out by the LDA, the MCL, provincial highway department, board of revenue, Lahore Cantonment, Punjab Auqaf Department and the Model Town Society.