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ETPB launches probe into encroachment on Kali Mata Temple building

ETPB launches probe into encroachment on Kali Mata Temple building

RAWALPINDI: The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) has launched an inquiry into complaints that Kali Mata Temple in Moti Bazaar has been encroached by local shopkeepers who were even trying to demolish the old structure for making a shopping mall there.

ETPB Deputy Administrator Mohammad Asif told Dawn that a team from the board would visit the site on Monday to check the status of the over 100-year-old temple.

“We are collecting record of the land and will check the covered area of the temple building and adjoining property to ascertain whether the shopkeepers had encroached on the land or not.”

Residents complain to ETPB that traders are trying to raze temple in Moti Bazaar to build a shopping mall

He said according to the land record the temple was sealed. However, the adjacent property was given on rent by the board to a local resident.

The official said the ETPB received complaints from local residents that over five shops had been established on the property of the temple. “If our team detects commercial activities in and around the worship place, the ETPB will stop it.”

He said there were two other ETPB properties which had been encroached upon by shopkeepers. “The ETPB has sought the help of the commissioner Rawalpindi in vacating the land of a gurdawara from the Government Ziaul Uloom School administration in Raja Bazaar,” he said.

The ETPB had requested the education department not to raze the old building of the gurdawara but it started construction work on the premises without permission of the ETPB.

Under the law, he said, changes to the basic structure of an evacuee trust property was not allowed. However, repair and maintenance is allowed after prior permission from the ETPB so that the latter could monitor the repair work.

On the other hand, a senior official of the ETPB said the 20 marla land of the temple was being encroached by traders by establishing shops on the premises.

When the encroachers tried to raze the main tower of the temple, the local residents informed the ETPB.

He said renting out the property to shopkeepers was negligence of the ETPB as the building could only be used for residential purposes.

He said the inquiry would also ascertain if officials concerned were involved in renting out the property in the past.

He said till 1982, the building housed a private school but a local trader got its possession from the school owner to which the ETPB did not object.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2018

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