KABUL (Pajhwok): Powerful individuals have encroached upon around 42 acres of land belonging to a teacher’s township in central Parwan province, officials said Sunday.
Zalmai Shahid, Parwan education, the provincial capital.
He said 668 plots or 120 acres of the township’s land was allotted to teachers in 2014 for building homes.
It was expected that 104 acres or 600 plots in the second section of the township would be distributed to teachers for construction of their own homes this year, but 40 percent or 42 acres of the land had been usurped by powerful figures, he said.
The official said that one acre of land allocated for a park in the first section of the township had also been grabbed by strongmen.
Shahid did not name any of the land grabbers but said they had constructed buildings on the land during nighttime.
He expressed concern over the situation and said he had shared the issue with relevant organs including the governor’s house, security organs and the Attorney General Office but no one had so far taken any action to stop the land usurpation.
Parwan governor Mohammad Asim Asim confirmed that parts of the teacher’s township had been grabbed.
“We have taken action for stopping land grabbing in the township, security forces are also available in the area, but police are unable to stay there day and night, the grabbers take teachers’ land during night,” he said.
The governor said police had several times destroyed structures illegally built on the township land but it did not help.
However, he said construction of the township’s second boundary wall would help prevent the land’s usurpation.
The governor did not name any grabbers but said they were powerful figures who used to sell sold the occupied land to other people.
Parwan police chief Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zaman Mamozai confirmed the issue and said: “Our security posts are available in this township, they control the area but areas which are a little far from police are sometimes grabbed by people, if there were no police the entire township may have been usurped,”
He said the names of land grabbers were mentioned in letters they had obtained from different departments. “If we reveal their names it would not be useful, we should find a solution to this problem,” he added.
Abdul Hafiz Ausuli, the provincial appellate court head, said the attorney office had received letters about government’s land grabbing from the governor’s house and the education department.
“Some figures are summoned over this issue but investigations are not yet complete,” he said.
Bashir Ahmad Omaid, 56, a teacher from Qala-i-Khwaja village of Bagram district, said in his 25 years service he could not buy a land plot to construct his own home.
He said he had formally requested the Parwan education department a land plot but the land promised to them in the teacher’s township had been grabbed.
He expressed concern over the situation and said: “The rights of poor and weak people are always usurped by powerful people.”
Abdul Rauf, 50, a teacher in Charikar, who also lives in a rened house, said, “I took the land request form two years ago, I filled it and we were promised the land allotment this (1396) solar year, but the land was usurped and we missed the chance.”
He said education was a country’s backbone and teachers must be provided with basic facilities of life for improvement of the education sector.
Pointing to their land seizure, he said teachers in Afghanistan were not appreciated and their rights were taken away by strongmen due to government’s negligence.
According to Parwan education department, 6,000 teachers including 1,000 of them female are serving in Parwan schools.
The land grabbing is a nationwide issue and in Parwan it is not confined to the teachers’ township only, but in prevalence in other parts of the province.
According to Afghanistan Land Authority, around 560,000 acres of government land has been grabbed countrywide.