PKONWEB Report (Islamabad) — Over 1,500 acres of illegally occupied forest land in the prestigious Margalla Hills that have been recovered so far is worth more than $200 million (Rs28 billion).
Speaking to PKonweb, a cost appraiser said the 12,000 kanal prized land if considered as 40 percent timberland plus wetlands, and 60 percent good for recreation and tourism purposes, the overall value could exceed even $200 million. “I would estimate it could be in the range of $300m to $400m,” said Engr. Rauf Siddiqui who has knowledge and expertise of land acquisition, costing and appraisal.
According to an official who attended a meeting held on Monday to review the progress regarding the retrieval of forest land from land grabbers and encroachers, the land has been handed over to the Punjab Forest Department for afforestation.
The meeting was attended by officials of the capital administration and forest officials from Rawalpindi.
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A senior official of the capital administration said that forest land has been under the illegal occupation of villagers and influential people. He said the land has been encroached upon for various reasons such as for chopping off trees and hunting.
So far, no legal action has been taken against the encroachers even though many of them have been identified, reported Dawn.
An official said the issue has been brought into the notice of higher-ups but they are reluctant to take action against those responsible.