ISLAMABAD - Around 849 acres of precious railway land was leased out to 428 individuals by the Ministry of Railways in Sindh during last five years but in some cases failed to collect even a single penny from the leaseholders.
In 2013-14 when the previous government took over, a total of 16.155 acres of land was leased out, which rose to 280.349 acres in 2014-15.
In 2015-16, the area of the land leased out by the Railways increased to 346.50 acres while in 2016-17, a total of 206.84 acres were licensed or leased out to different individuals for different purposes, a source in the Ministry told APP.
The source said the Pakistan Railways-owned land was leased out through competitive bidding for varying purposes including agriculture, premium shops, parking stands and others.
The land allotted for agriculture under the head of ‘cultivatable land’ was leased for three years and the ‘barren land’ was leased out for three years, which was extendable for another three years.
The land meant for shops were leased out for 10 years extendable for five years till September 2014. However, the policy was revised in October 2014 and lease period was restricted to seven years only. The land for parking stands was leased by the railways on a yearly basis for the already developed stands whereas the land for new parking sites had a fixed lease term of three years and extendable for two years.
A lease of 150 square yards of a car parking area was awarded in the jurisdiction of Karachi Cantonment to an individual for the period February 16, 2013 to February 15, 2015 against approved/accepted rate of Rs1, 262,000 but that too could not be collected.
In the same period, another party was leased out space of 7,262 square yards in Tando Adam for car parking lot far below the agreed amount of Rs150, 000. However, not a single rupee could be recovered from him as agreed.
On the contrary, another individual was leased out 2.80 acres of land for cultivation for three years starting from 2014 below the approved rate of Rs18, 500, though the agreed amount was recovered.
In Mirpurkhas, three acres of land was leased out for three years in 2014 for agriculture purposes against a meager amount of Rs10, 200 and fortunately the amount was recovered from him by the authority.
A lease for five acres of land was awarded for agriculture for a period of three years from 2015 to 2018 near Tanvarai Shah, Garhi Khairo, at the rate of Rs16,000 per acre but only Rs50,000 could be recovered.
Two acres of land was leased in Larkana for unspecified period at the rate of Rs15, 200 per acres and only Rs4, 500 could be recovered whereas one acre of railways’ land was leased for the purpose of agriculture against the contract of Rs17,000 per acre but only Rs1,000 was recovered. - APP