SADIQABAD - After the Punjab chief minister’s announcement to grant ownership rights to the slum areas’ residents, the revenue officials of Sadiqabad have started “plundering money” by awarding land ownership certificates to influential people of the area by “taking bribe” and depriving the permanent dwellers of Chak 172/NP village Dhandi here of their rights.

The residents threatened to hold protest and stage a sit-in if Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the Bahawalpur commissioner and the district coordination officer of Rahim Yar Khan did not rein in the officials. The slum area dwellers including Basheer, Shakil, Farooq, Imran, M Ali, Javed, Sohail, Anjum, Ramazan, Basheer Ahmad, Jamil, Nazir, Abdul Razzaq, Malook, Khan, Saleem, Nazir Ahmad, Saleem Ahmad and M Musa told the media in this regard. They said that they had been residing in the village for a long time and also their ancestors were also dwellers of the same area.

They alleged that the revenue officials and the personnel had allotted the land where they had been living for a long time to the local landlords, saying that the deserving people were being neglected and the influential people who already own land consisting of a number of acres were being awarding ownership rights’ certificates. They detailed that those officials visited their area conducted fake surveys and showed influential landlords of the area as residents of the village. They also alleged when they talked to Patwari Ejaz and Gardawar Abul Hassan, the latters demanded Rs400,000 bribe for awarding them ownership rights of their houses.

They further said that the landlords’ children who even have not reached the age of puberty had been mentioned in the list of the deserving residents of the slum areas, adding that the children had been mentioned in the list for awarding them one acre land each while they already own hundreds of acres of land. They also demanded that the government should conduct a survey of Chak 172/NP in reality to allot the houses in line with the announced made by the Punjab chief minister to the deserving dwellers of the area.

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif had announced to give ownership rights to over 2.2 million (2,28,578) residents of 3,26,516 units in Katchi Abadies across the province established before December 31, 2011.

According to the CM, the proprietary rights would be given jointly to husband and wife and the certificates had been prepared and would be distributed among people soon. He had said that step had been taken on the instructions of PML-N President M Nawaz Sharif for empowering common man and improving his living standard and the ownership rights to Katchi Abadies residents was a part of this process.

Ownership rights were earlier given only in cities but now first time residents of katchi abadies in rural areas have also been included in this process.

Under the Katchi Abadies Regularization Scheme 2012, the ownership rights of 35,640 acres of land would be given to the residents. The Katchi Abadies Department was already taking steps for the provision of all necessities of life in the katchi abadies and now the Punjab government would provide more facilities in such abadies, according to the chief minister.