When the cat is away, the mice will play


To fulfil its commitment of roti, kapra and makan, the Sindh government on the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari has launched Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Sasti Basti Schemes programme to resettle 0.5 million people across the province, but the project could not materialise and allocated land for the schemes was occupied by land mafia.
Per reports, the provincial government started 201 schemes in all 23 districts of Sindh to resettle 0.5 million families living in unauthorised katchi abadis before 1985. The project was assigned to the Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority (SKAA) and was directed to launch a survey across the province to point out unutilised government lands in Sindh.
The authority completed the survey and reported that land was available for 201 schemes. On the basis of the mentioned survey, the provincial government had announced to launch 201 schemes, but after the passage of four years, the schemes at many districts could not be completed and the land allocated for these schemes was occupied by land mafia.
The project launched by the SKAA was launched to resettle 0.5 million families but has instead provided golden opportunities to land grabbers to occupy the government land.
The Sindh government had started the scheme in 23 districts of the province and included providing 80 square yards plots to the relocated families, but the government at many places have left the project midway to clear the path for politically motivated land encroachers to exploit the national assets.
Sources said the authority had started 100 schemes in the provincial capital Karachi, 30 in Hyderabad, five in Jamshoro, five in Tando Muhammad Khan, one in Matiari, one in Tando Allahyar, five in Badin, five in Thatta, five in Dadu, 10 in Mirpurkhas, five in Sanghar, one in Umerkot, one in Tharparkar, five in Sukkur, two in Ghotki, four in Khairpur, five in Nawabshah, five in Naushero Feroze, three in Larkana, one in Kamber Shahdadkot, one in Jacobabad, one in Kashmore and two schemes in Shikarpur respectively.
They said the purpose of the project was to stop further expansion of existing katchi abadis, growth of new katchi abadis and resettlement of non-regularised katchi abadis. “The provincial government has started pilot projects in various district headquarters, but left these ongoing projects in midway,” they added.
The sources further said that the authority had been deputed to surveyors for the proposed piece of land to prepare a map for the construction of low cost housing schemes for crises-hit masses, but after completing the initial arrangements the government could not launch the project. Taking the advantage of the situation, the land mafia acted quickly and started occupying the government lands, the sources maintained.
They said the authority had sent law enforcers to get the occupied government lands vacated from the encroachers and to arrest the culprits involved in such practices, but they could neither vacate the land from the mafia nor could any arrests be made due to political pressure.