KARACHI - Public Accounts Committee of the Sindh Assembly on Friday asked the provincial agriculture department why it did not pursue legal course against the encroachers to take back 40 acres of precious land on Korangi Road. Taking strict notice of encroachment of the Coconut Farm, the property of agriculture department, the PAC has also written to Advocate General Sindh to explain in detail why the government, despite having all legal documents, lost the case to the land grabbers in the High Court and why was the matter not taken to the apex court. The committee has also asked the AG to suggest what steps could be taken to retrieve the land. The PAC on Agriculture Department, which met in Committee Room of Sindh Assembly building under the chair of Sardar Jam Tamachi, also directed secretary agriculture to write to the Governor and Chief Minister and bring the matter into the knowledge of the cabinet for fixing responsibility on the officers under whose tenure the land was encroached upon. The Auditor General in his report stated that during scrutiny of the accounts record of Director Sindh Horticulture Research Institute, Mirpurkhas, it was observed that 40 acres land was under encroachment at Coconut Research Station, Karachi for the last 20 years and no efforts were taken by the concerned department to recover the state property from illegal occupants. In its reply, the department stated the land was encroached upon by land mafia and the same could not be got vacated despite High Court judgment in favour of the government. This answer was not satisfactory as the department had failed to mobilise government machinery to implement court orders. On queries, the Secretary Agriculture informed the PAC that the High Court had given judgment in favour of the land grabbers in 1996 instead of the agriculture department. He said encroachment issue was some 30 years old and the matter came into the knowledge of agriculture department when one of the land grabbers, who encroached upon 8 acres, approached the court which was followed by the others, who had occupied 32 acres of land. Thereafter, he continued, the department approached the court and pursued the case. However, the case was decided in favour of the occupants. He expressed his ignorance as to why the department did not approach the superior court for retrieving the land. He added that multi-storey buildings have been constructed on the said land. Although some of the paras were settled on the request of secretary agriculture after showing relevant documents but the PAC took notice of the delay of four years in presenting the documents, which the department ought to furnish at the time of audit. Talking to newsmen after the meeting, Chairman PAC Sardar Jam Tamachi said that it was unfortunate that land grabbers swallowed 40 acres of precious government land and despite having legal documents the agriculture department lost the case. He alleged it was a sorry state of affairs that government lawyers provided documents to the opponents which helped them win the case in the courts. But, ironically, the department had not approached the Supreme Court, he deplored. Tamachi said the PAC has written letter to AG Sindh as to what legal steps the government could take for getting back the land. Responding to a query regarding government dues on sugar millers, he said that Rs40 was due on sugar mills since 1990-92 but the case was still pending in the lower courts. Replying to another question, Jam Tamachi said the Committee held recommendatory powers and hoped that activation of the PAC would make a good impact on the working of the departments with regard to checking mismanagement.