Metro train project: Now affected villagers turn violent

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LAHORE: A number of villagers, including women and children, forcibly stopped work on the Orange Line Metro Train project on Sunday in Kotli Ghassi area near the Quaid-i-Azam interchange (Dera Gujran).

Holding clubs, they damaged the machinery and tried to grab hold of workers and officials, but they managed to escape.

The protesters raised slogans against the government for paying DC (district collector) rate for acquiring their agriculture land.

They said they wouldn’t allow the government to acquire their land forcibly until they were compensated reasonably.

A few days back a similar violent protest was also staged by residents of Samanabad, a purely urban locality, which also forced workers and engineers to beat a hasty retreat.

Project director/LDA chief engineer Asrar Saeed rejected the protesters’ stance, saying the government had already offered them better rates than the DC ones. “Their demands are irrational. Where the land rate is Rs150,000 per marla, they are demanding Rs1.5 million. The government can’t meet such unreasonable demands,” he said.

Mr Saeed claimed that the affectees were offered the best package rates the government had ever introduced in the province.

“The government is paying the per marla cost according to the market value besides the costs related to structure, relocation and business disturbance, etc,” he said.

The chief engineer appealed to the residents to stay calm and support the project that was the need of the city as well as the country.

He said he had the construction work resumed after holding talks with the protesters.

Meanwhile, an LDA spokesman says the government has established one-window centres at various spots of the city district in order to start paying compensation to the affectees of the train project.

“These centres will start functioning from Monday (today) at LDA Complex/Head Office in Johar Town, Thokar, Jain Mandir and UET on GT Road.

Those seeking compensation should contact officials at these centres from 9:00am to 2:00pm daily.

They will be required to submit a written application appended with documents such as attested copies of an applicant, two witnesses’ CNICs, Rs100 stamp paper/indemnity bond, Rs50 stamp paper/affidavit, a copy of registry, fard/document/application on a prescribed pro forma, a copy of mutation (intiqal), electricity and gas bills, receipt of property tax, etc,” the spokesman said.

He said residents/affectees of Kotli Ghassi, Devipura, Baghbanpura, Qila Gujjar Singh, Achant Garh, Bagrian Syedan and Kot Dhoni should contact with officials at the UET centre near gate No 6; Lahore Khas (Lahore central) affectees with officials at the GCU ground centre near Jain Mandir and Amar Kot, Rakh Kambha, Niaz Baig Intersection, Kakayzai, Syedpur, Nawankot, Pakki Thatti, Mozang, Niaz Baig Mauza, Ravi Block, Kharak and Muslim Block (Iqbal Town) affectees with officials at the Niaz Baig centre.