PUL-I-KHUMRI (Pajhwok): Above 14,000 acres of state and private land has been usurped by powerful individuals and government officials in northern Baghlan province, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt.
According to the Land Authority, the list of 1,744 land grabbers has been prepared and dispatched to the central government, the Provincial Council and the Attorney Office, but there has been no response.
Ramazan Rastin, head of Baghlan Land Authority, told Pajhwok Afghan News his department had prepared documents which showed where and who had grabbed land.
He said the documents showed 14,395 acres of land had been usurped by 1,744 government officials and powerful individuals in the province. he did not go into more details about the list.
Meanwhile, Khochi Tribe Authority, claims thousands acres of pasture land belonging to the tribe has been grabbed by powerful individuals.
Amanullah Ahmadzai, head of the Kochi Department, said over 65,000 acres of land had been grabbed by former jihadi commanders and powerful individuals.
Without naming anyone, he said some of the land grabbers were still in power. He said over 50 percent of pasture areas in Badal Mast, Kar Kar, Gaz, Hassan Tal and Tangi areas in central Baghlan district had been usurped.
In addition to districts, incidents of land grabbing happened in Pul-i-Khumri, the provincial capital, as well, he said.
Faridon Shinwari, administrative affairs director at the Municipality, said many distributed plots in Pul-i-Khumri had been grabbed. He, however, offered no facts and figures in this regard.
“In Karkar area, we distributed 700 plots, but recently it appeared up to 800,000 plots had been distributed and most of them illegally.”
Ferozuddin Aimaq, deputy head of the Provincial Council, confirmed land grabbing in the province and the list provided to them by the Land Authority.
He said 6.5 acres of land of Sugar Mill, Cement Factory, Spin Zar Company and Mining had been grabbed by powerful individuals. “If the central government takes steps for reclaiming the grabbed land, the local authority is capable of executing the orders.”
Governor Abdul Hai Naimati confirmed the issue but refused to provide exact numbers.
He said till the end of former President Hamid Karzai regime, a number of powerful individuals and government official taking full advantage of their authority had grabbed government and private lands.
He said efforts were underway to retake grabbed lands, adding that a commission headed by the Provincial Council had been formed and directed to find the exact figures of grabbed land.
He said land grabbing issue did not belong to the provincial government, adding thousands acres of land had been grabbed in provinces and the central government needed to take steps in this regard.
According to the Independent Land Authority, over 65,000 acres of land in 30 provinces has been captured by powerful individuals. No incident of land grabbing has been reported in Daikundi, Panjshir, Nuristan and Kunar provinces.
According to sources, 15,831 individuals have been involved in small and large scale land usurpation, but the government seems not serious about retaking of the grabbed land.