DERA GHAZI KHAN - More than two months have expired, but the Kot Chutta administration and the Forest Department have not yet implemented the order of Punjab Ombudsman regarding the retrieval of state land.

On 5th of June, 2018, Punjab Ombudsman Najum Saeed ordered the conservator of the Forest Department in a case that he took interest in the issue of demarcation/retrieval of state land but neither the revenue officers nor Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Maher Muhammad Asif has yet taken any step for the demarcation of the state land.

Petitioner Rab Nawaz Khan alleged that DFO Maher M Asif, Subdivisional Officer (SDO) Wahid Bakhsh Saqi, Block Officer Ghulam Sarwar and Conservator Gull Noor Khan were allowing people for the occupation of state land after getting bribe; even the state land has also been illegally leased out.

During the case hearing, it was disclosed that over 19,793 acre land out of 82,414 acre of state land is occupied by private people and illegal cultivation of crops is being carried out. The state land is situated at tehsil Kot Chutta’s Rakh Bhatti Maitla village (3050 acre), Saban Machi (1181 acre), Patti Mir Mirani (670 acre), Patti Imam Bakhsh (178 acre) Haider Malana (1806 acre), Golewah (1025 acre), Jampur Ibrahim (1082 acre), Rind Sewra (527 acre), Khai Mehsran (630 acre), Jahlar Lafit Shah( 462 acre), Rindwala (1010 acre), Tahta Jhoke Bodo (2479 acre), Kalu Wala (598 acre), Triman ( 4638 acre) and Berut Mandwani ( 456 acre).

The DFO said that he had written many letters to AC Kot Chutta and Deputy Commissioner DG Khan for the purpose but to no avail.

When approached, Additional Deputy Commissioner Revenue Iqbal Mazhar told The Nation that he already directed AC Kot Chutta on 9th of February, 2018 and 10th of April 2018 for the demarcation of the state land under Revenue Rules without further delay. He said explanations from the Revenue Officers/Officials for non-compliance of the order might also be obtained and submitted for further proceedings under PEEDA Act-2006.

It was reported by Forests Department that the Jhoke Utra Police Station SHO was reluctant to register an FIR despite a written request against some accused involved in illegal occupation of state land in Mouza Rakh Pati Mir Mirani, he said. He added officials of Forest Department were threatened in the presence of the SHO at PS Jhoke Utra by accused but police did not take any legal action.

Iqbal added he had written a letter to the District Police Officer on 15th of March 2018 for strict legal action under the law in order to save the state land from unscrupulous elements but to no avail. When contacted, AC Imtiaz Mohsin made lame excuses for not doing demarcation and said that the process was not completed yet.

Talking to The Nation, Conservator Azeem Bhangoo said he had recently been posted there after the transfer of former conservator Gul Noor. He said he would take all the necessary actions for early demarcation and retrieval of the state land.