Orchard farms losing charm due to illegal settlements around

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 7 (APP): The fascination of idealized life that captivated well-off to opt for a farm house in Capital’s Orchard Scheme Tarlai is fading out due to illegal cattle dens, undocumented settlers around and non provision of basic amenities, committed by the civic body in 1994.

The issues of villagers in Jaba, situated right in the middle of the scheme acquired by CDA in 1968, were left unresolved and the civic authority could not attain possession of over 80 farm houses in its proposed plan.

The leftover issues encouraged a few opportunists from locals and CDA to illegally sale the land to cattle farmers expelled from Rawalpindi in 2009 to purge the Cantonment from buffaloes and cows said former Chairman Union Council Sohan, Sarfraz Hussain.

The remaining land in villager’s possession was illicitly sold out to some Internally Displaced Persons from Waziristan Agencies, who left their native towns, in Law Enforcement Agencies’ operation to cleanse the areas from the miscreants, he added.

The seriousness of the problems has been discussed and conveyed in writing to the authorities concerned but farmhouse owners are left to twist in the wind since 1994, a farmhouse owner Shakoor expressing his dismay said.

He said our constant reminders of ensuring availability of facilities and security concerns on unverified dwellers have fallen on deaf ears. I was forced to sale out my farmhouse in prevailing situation, he added.

Another farmhouse owner Jaral Haider said the cattle’s dungeon was being thrown out alongside the main road and around the farms creating serious health hazards as there is no mechanism to lift it by the civic body, practiced in the urban areas.

“Bumpy road, unpaved streets, non provision of drinking water, defunct street lights, absence of sewerage system and stinky smell of cattle’s waste are the facilities we owned in over twenty years to establish a dream farmhouse, these were the pinching remarks of a farmhouse owner Hassan.

The Deputy Director of Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) Enforcement Directorate Muhammd Ramzan, taking the easy way out on the issue, said his wing only provides reinforcement assistance on removal of encroachments and illegal constructions.

Passing the buck to Land and Rehabilitation Wing, he said, the evacuation of illegal lands is the aforementioned department’s responsibility under new and revised rules and regulations.

On illegal construction in the area Ramzan, however, admitted that some “black sheep among us are minting money and catching the fish from the muddy water earning bad names for the organization.”

He expressed Enforcement wing’s inability to go all out against this situation due to insufficient and untrained force.

An official of the CDA’s Planning Department, on the complaints of farm house owners for non provision of facilities requesting anonymity, said they have received many complaints which were forwarded in time to Member Estate Department for their resolution.

The farmhouse owners and locals who have claims of rights with the CDA expressed the hope that the Mayor and Capital Administration and Development Division Minister would intervene for resolution of their over the years neglected issues.