JHANG - In response to an Assembly question, Revenue Department officers of all the four tehsils of Jhang have recently collected data of state agricultural and residential lands which have been occupied by different land mafias, it has been learnt.

According to the figures collected by this TheNation, some 23,000 acres of agricultural, urban residential and commercial state land is in illegal possession of Qabza groups. Out of this, some 1,800 acres of land is in Jhang tehsil, some 300 acres in Shorkot, some 1,300 acres in Ahmed Pur Sial and some 20,000 acres of land is in Atharan Hazari.

Reportedly, land mafia has always remained active and thousands of acres of state as well as private lands are in their possession whereas hundreds of acres have been sold out to the masses after dividing into residential commercial plats deceitfully.

Despite repeated actions and efforts, the administration has failed in crushing these influential groups because they are allegedly backed by some political personalities and supported by corrupt government employees of Revenue Department. It has also been learnt that majority of the Qabza groups, either headed by corrupt government employees or guided by them, usually succeed in not only getting valuable lands easily but also disposing it of without any hurdles.

Some of the residential plots and agricultural lands reportedly have been transferred by such corrupt employees to their family members or relatives.

When some revenue officers were connected, they said that influential land mafia usually succeed in obtaining stay order from civil courts with the help of corrupt revenue officials and this unending circle has been continuing for years and helping Qabza groups to strengthen their illegal occupation. This makes the Tahsil or District Administration helpless in vacating state land from illegal possession.

Condition of agricultural as well as residential lands owned by Auqaf Departments is even worst as major portion of these lands is under illegal occupation of Qabza groups. Someone third of the urban property and some half per cent of agricultural Auqaf land is reported to be in illegal possession, depriving the department of millions of rupees.

Local circles demanded the government high-ups and DCO to pay special attention to the matter and take strict action to vacate the land from illegal occupation of Qabza groups and other persons.