Bahria Town allegedly harassing farmers

Villager says receiving threats over refusal to sell land.

LAHORE: The villagers are not interested in selling their land to Bahria Town and want to continue cultivation on their agricultural lands, but they are allegedly being harassed with the help of local touts and police. Various pressure tactics are allegedly being used to press and force the farmers to sell their land for the expansion of the housing society.

A poor villager told Daily Times that he was receiving threats from some influential people who first tried to convince him to sell the land; however, when he refused they resorted to threats. My forefathers settled this land and I have special association with it, therefore we do not want to sell this land at any cost, come what may, he remarked.

Another villager said many people have sold their land due to the pressure of influential people of the area and property dealers’ mafia. He acknowledged the fact that their lands’ prices have been increased due to Bahria Orchard scheme, however, as per market estimates the price of his land was higher that the offer being made by the Bahria officials.

“I do not want to sell my land at their price and they are pressing me one way or the other. I am tired of putting off their touts, but some of them are harassing me and my family.” On the contrary, when contacted, City Raiwind Police Station Duty Officer Ghulam Rasool denied the allegation that police was harassing the villagers. “We have nothing to do with this business.” He said if someone is found involved and police is approached we would take strict action because Bahria Town Orchard is situated near Pajian which falls in City Raiwind Police Station’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, Bahria Town media manager Nida Zahoor said the matter was not in her notice and she needed to confirm it from a local officer of the society. “I would be able to respond on this matter tomorrow,” she added. Experts are already criticising expansion of the city and loss of rich agricultural land to residential societies. Deforestation in the name of development is also causing serious environmental threats and imbalance of biodiversity. They have recommended vertical development of city instead of horizontal, which has caused axing of a large number of trees and loss of fertile agricultural land. They have demanded the policy makers and town planners to stop the illegal expansion on the city in the name of housing. Daily Times Report

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