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Fishermen ask govt to return their land.

By: SHAFI BALOCH KARACHI, June 20 (THE NATION): Fishermen of the centuries-old villages of the coastal belt have demanded the lease of their land. Despite the assurance of the government, fishermens community living in the coastal belts was yet to be benefited. As per detail, people living in the coastal belt of the metropolitan, measuring over 129km and comprised of 600 villages, are remain living without leasing of their land. PPP-led government had made promise to the villagers but did not fulfil though many of the villages were established in early 70s. Similarly, villages of other parts of Sindh are also facing the same situation which resulted in lack of proper facilities by the civic agencies. Talking to The Nation, the fishers representatives told that the current government has failed in fulfilling the promise of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of leasing the centuries old villages of coastal belt in the metropolis, as she announced it during her visit in 1993. They said that the late PM had announced to lease the fishers villages including Baba Bhit, Shamspir, Kaka village and Salehabad islands and other villages during her visit to the coastal belt in her last government but her government seems reluctant to do so. In the previous PPP regime, a summary was moved through land utilisation department of Sindh, Letter No PS/ MBR (LU)/1289/93, by saying that the land control of Baba Bhit, Salehabad islands, and Kaka area, were to be leased to its occupants within a period of 60 days under the directives of the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. While the issuance of leases in 1994 under the Colonisation of Government Lands (Sindh) Act 1912 to the residents of Bhit, Shamspir, Kaka, and Salehabad Islands at the rate of Rs1 per yard on the condition that leasers should not transfer the lease hold rights up to 25 years provided that KPT/KMC shall give basic facilities to the occupants. In 1996, a letter was issued to the Deputy Commissioner Karachi West for the related matter. However, in 1999, the KPT Board under the directives, considered the matter and resolved the grant of lease of Baba Bhit island, Shamspir, Salehabad and Kaka areas to the old residents of these places for a period of 99 years with effect from November 24, 1993. Moreover, the Mukhtarkar (Revenue) Keamari Town has issued a letter of verification to the District Officer CDGK on October 6, 2004, and endorsed that Kaka Village is an old settled village of fishermen on state land (Provincial Government Land), regularised by the government under Sindh Gothabad Scheme. Similarly, the departments concerned had made correspondents to each other in this connection but so far no implementation has been done. Mostly, the lands of the villages have been claimed by KPT and Pakistan Navy. The locals have appealed to the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah and other higher government officials to fulfil the promise of former PM Benazir Bhutto. Talking to The Nation, Sami Memon, spokesman of Pakistan Fisher folk Forum, said that the Sindh government had started conducting survey of the villages to regularise them but the survey process was stopped due to negligence of the authorities concerned. Sami also alleged that a private firm that was given contract for the survey was forcing the villagers to pay them brief, if the setters contact the elected representatives against such behaviour of the survey officials but they also suggested them to do what they say. On the other side, Haji Muhammad Younus, chairman of Sindh Mahigeer Ittihad and convener of Fishermen Co-Operative Society (FCS), alleged that City government, Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Port and Shipping Ministry, and other departments are not only creating hurdles to provide lease to these villages but also patronising the mafias, who have been involved in land grabbing in the coastal areas. Such mafias are also taking the coastal belt to the disaster. These govt agencies were involved in occupying the lands of the fishermen at Hawksbay located in Keamari Town but the government and law enforcers have turned blind eyes over the issue. Haji Younus, who is also the former President of PPP District West, said that PPP had been their representative party, but unfortunately, now none of the representatives of the PPP-led govt was ready to take any initiative to move the process to provide lease to the fishers villages as well as providing basic needs of life. He said that the conspiracies had been hatched to abolish the centuries old Goths, while depriving them by leases and basic civic facilities, as the mafias had been busy in land grabbing. He mentioned that in the resolution of 1855, which was passed by the then British government, Karachi was declared as the fishermen populated city but so far no initiative was taken after the partition. Younus said that despite allotting lease to the coastal villages before partition, the houses from Somar Goth, Younusabad, Haji Ali Goth and others were demolished by the authorities concerned, and the supply of water have also been disconnected from the other Goths including Muach Goth, Maripor Grex, Tecre Village, Badni Goth, Younusabad, Kakka Village, Salehabad, Somar Goth, Abdur Rehman Goth, Haji Ali Goth, Manyari, Akllah Banu, Machar Colony, Shershah, Bhatta Village, Masan Road and others. He said KPT had been used for the conspiracies against such Goths, adding that in 2006, he had moved to the court against the Chairman of KPT and served a legal notice but so far no proceedings have been made to that regard.

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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Date:Jun 20, 2010
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