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Lahore Postal Colony flats forcibly vacated for metro train

Lahore Postal Colony flats forcibly vacated for metro train

LAHORE: Flats of Postal Colony near Jain Mandir were forcibly got vacated from residents to clear the way for the Orange Line Metro Train project here on Sunday.

Some residents alleged that they were also thrashed, but officials of the Lahore Development Authority rejected their claim.

The residents staged a protest demonstration and chanted slogans after a team comprising officials of the LDA and men of the contractor reached the spot at around 11am, ordering residents to either vacate within two hours their houses or face action.

They also pelted police and LDA official with stones.

The 76 flats in the Postal Colony had been allotted to officials of the postal services/General Post Office since long.

Since the area also comes under the 1.8km underground portion of the Orange Line route, the government acquired the land after consultation with the Postal Services Department.

Earlier, the residents refused to vacate their flats/houses because the government didn’t meet their demand of giving Rs1 million compensation to the family occupying one room on the pattern of the Bangali building package.

“We were being threatened for three months to vacate the houses we have been living in since decades. Today the officials have ordered us to vacate the premises within two hours. They have also parked a bulldozer on the spot directing us to either shift their luggage or face the consequence”, resident Riaz Ahmad told Dawn.

He alleged several men of the contractor entered their houses and started throwing out their luggage.

He said the officials even didn’t allow them to stay till the conclusion of the ongoing annual examination of their children.

“They (officials) thrashed me and my daughters. They also scuffled with other families on offering resistance,” another resident Alia Nazir said.

She said: “Official sent workers to their houses who ordered us to send women and children outside and start demolition work”.

She said that officials had been visiting the area for the last 15 days, ordering them to vacate their houses.

Another resident Naila Bibi said the government had given only Rs100,000 to each family as compensation despite announcing Rs1 million on the pattern of the Bangali building compensation package.

Shahid Ali said: “We don’t have the resources even to shift our luggage. It is shameful that the government is displacing their own citizens.”

LDA’s deputy director Sabir rejected the allegation of threatening or beating any resident.

He said: “Actually they all are GPO employees who have been allotted flats on a tenancy basis. We have been persuading them for three months to leave the place as the property has been acquired for the Orange Line train project.”

He said since the residents refused to vacate the place, the government had left with no option but to take a swift action.

“But we have not touched them. We have only asked them to vacate the place within a short span of time,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2016

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