Protest land acquisition for estate GUJRAT: Scores of farmers and landowners from different villages along the Gujrat-Sargodha road on Wednesday staged a demonstration in front of the district government complex against a proposal to acquire land for the establishment of phase II of the industrial estate area.
At least 480 acres of agricultural land between Saroki and Sheikh Sukha along Sargodha Road have been earmarked by the local land revenue department and approved by stakeholders, including the Punjab Small Industries Estate Department and local business community.
A large number of people from Jhandewal, Mund, Dhudra and Sheikh Sukha — the villages to be affected due to the proposed land acquisition — gathered at the district government and staged a demonstration.
Protesters asked to render sacrifice for uplift, economic growth
The protesters demanded the authorities select another site since the proposed site comprised rich fertile land, which should be spared for agricultural purposes only.
Later, representatives of the protesters met with District Coordination Officer (DCO) Liaquat Ali Chattha and local PML-N MPA Haji Imran Zafar to convey apprehensions of the villagers over the project.
They asked the district government to shift the project to the other side of Sargodha Road where at least 200 acres of government land was also available, which they claimed had been occupied by some influentials.
They project could also be shifted to the previously proposed site along Gujrat-Bhimbher road where a huge chunk of barren land owned by the provincial government was available, they suggested.
The DCO told them that at least 400 acres were required for the project, which was why the southern side of Sargodha road was not an option.
Both the DCO and the MPA asked the protesters to render this sacrifice for the uplift of the country as well as economic growth of Gujrat.
They also sought suggestions from landowners if the matter could be resolved by enhancing the price of land or sparing a part of affected villages.
The protesters dispersed peacefully when the DCO assured them of visiting the proposed site with them on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the district government in consultation with officials of the Gujrat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GTCCI) proposed that phase 2 of the planned industrial estate be named Chenab Industrial Estate Area of Gujrat.
This was decided in a meeting held at the district government complex presided over by DCO Chattha with GTCCI President Mian Muhammad Ijaz leading a delegation of local industrialists.
The meeting was told that officials of the Punjab Small Industries Estate Department had also declared the proposed 480 acres feasible for the project, which would be linked with the GT Road by a 120-foot wide dual carriage way.
The DCO said following completion of the initial procedural work, a formal summary was being prepared for approval of the chief minister, which would be followed by the issuance of a notification of Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act so that the district Land Revenue Department could acquire the land.